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- Author or Editor: Ulrike Zartler x
Qualitative longitudinal research (QLR) has great potential for elucidating processes and change over time. Despite the growing interest in QLR, methodological and practical challenges require further reflection. In this contribution, we reflect on two major issues in interviewing adolescents in QLR: panel maintenance and changes in the research set-up, including interviewing technique, content and interviewer (dis)continuity. Based on experiences from a panel study on understanding how young people’s opportunities in life are shaped during a transitional stage (‘Pathways to the Future’), we present methodological and pragmatic decisions, rationales and lessons learnt to inform future qualitative longitudinal studies. We show how change is omnipresent in QLR practice, and how it demands researchers’ openness and flexibility as well as finding a balance between continuity and adaption. The process can be challenging, but it also offers opportunities.
Numerous studies have explored parents’ unequal involvement in care work, emphasising the formative power of the first period of parenthood. However, detailed knowledge of how care work is interlinked between parents in everyday practice during the transition to parenthood and how these linkages are related to gendered inequality is limited. Based on an Austrian qualitative longitudinal study with first-time parents (66 individual interviews with 11 couples during pregnancy, 6 and 24 months postpartum), we developed a typology of parental involvement in care that captures the relationality of parents’ practices, their fluidity over time and that embraces six types of interrelated parenting practices. Results show how parental involvement is constituted by a complex interplay and sequence of parenting practices performed by both parents. With regards to gender inequality in care work, we demonstrate that parents are thus situated on a continuum between equality, dichotomy, ambiguity and inequality when doing care work. The results systematise the tremendous variety of parents’ interrelated involvement in care work.
The study explored how family care is developed and maintained in families in cases where more than one family member is involved in care. A total of 43 family carers in Austria participated in this qualitative study. Family care is a process of ongoing communication, in which responsibilities, coordination and conditions are negotiated among the family members involved. Three distinct care network types emerged from the data, which differ in terms of the individual perception of roles and responsibilities, and the distribution of care. Responsibilities for one another, awareness of being a family carer and the availability of resources are preconditions for the composition of these networks.