05 May 2009

Open University Lecturer wins British Sociological Association prize

Dr Jacqui Gabb, a Lecturer at The Open University (OU), has been named joint winner of a prestigious prize from the British Sociological Association (BSA) for her book Researching Intimacy in Families. The Philip Abrams Memorial prize is given for the best first and sole-authored book within the discipline of Sociology.

Dr Gabb’s book emerged from the ESRC-funded research project ‘Behind Closed Doors. Researching Intimacy and Sexuality in Families’ which explored families’ emotion-exchanges – their experiences, understanding and expressions of intimacy and affection; and the verbal and non-verbal affective communication between parents, parents and children and siblings. The book uses original data from the research project to invigorate methodology teaching and family research.

Dr Gabb said: “Methodology and theory are often looked at separately. This book is innovative in drawing them together and investigating the use of mixed methodology in family research projects. Having successfully completed the research project and seeing the richness of material that a qualitative mixed methods approach can produce, I am a huge advocate of this way of researching families and personal lives. My hope is that the book will help researchers think more critically about their methods and approach and assist them in exploring the use of mixed methodologies.”

President of the BSA and Pro-Vice Chancellor Learning Innovation at Glasgow Caledonian University, Professor Sue Scott, said of the book: “The sociology of the family...will be enriched by the insights offered in this book. As a commentary on method in relation to undertaking research in this field many salient issues are brought to the fore. The use of a spatial mapping approach is particularly useful, and the sections on visual sociology, the use of 'draw-and-talk', and video are insightful and communicated with great clarity.”

Notes to Editors
The Philip Abrams Memorial prize was established in honour of the memory of Professor Philip Abrams whose work contributed substantially to sociology and social policy research in Britain. In recognition of his commitment to sociology as a discipline, the British Sociological Association established this prize to stimulate new ideas and fresh research in sociology by encouraging new British authors.

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