Walking alongside or visitors in life? Participant–researcher relations in qualitative longitudinal research


Workshop in the 7th European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, Helsinki University 12 January 2024

Our Finnish team participates in the ECQI 2024 conference in Helsinki on 10-12 January 2024. In cooperation with a multidisciplinary group of researchers, we will organise a workshop on qualitative longitudinal research from the perspective of research participation

We invite conference participants to collaborative reflection on the strengths and challenges of qualitative longitudinal research. Qualitative longitudinal research is often described as walking side-by-side with the participants, whose life paths may challenge many of the expectations and plans written down in research proposals. The aim of this workshop is to update this image by gathering experiences from a variety of approaches, where the relation to participants might be more diverse, fluid, changing, and even disturbing sometimes, raising multiple ethical questions and tensions.

Our aim is to learn from each other and offer a floor to joint exploration focusing on the changing relations between the participants and the researcher(s). How to work with the relation analytically as intrinsically tied to knowledge production during the process? How to work with the fact that the participants see the relationship from a very different, sometimes unpredictable lenses than the researcher? What are the ethical commitments made, unwritten, yet powerful at the time of ruptures and doubts? The coordinators represent diverse disciplines and present short introductory notes and provocation/questions from their projects and experiences as invitation and opening space to the joint reflections. The examples presented will come from different projects, where the participants age range from early years (1-8-year-olds) to old age.


Niina Rutanen, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Mari Vuorisalo, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Kaisa Vehkalahti, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Helena Ristaniemi, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Elisa Tiilikainen, University of Eastern Finland

The workshop is co-organised by two research projects included in the Future Challenges in the Nordics -program, The Future of Nordic Youth in the Rural Regions (FUNORE), and  Demography and Democracy – Healthy Ageing in a Digital World (HAIDI), together with the Jyväskylä University -based TRACE research group, which studies institutional practices in early childhood education.

The 7th European Congress of Qualitative Inquiry
Parallel session 7C, klo 14:00 - 15:30, Helsingin yliopiston päärakennus sali U3041