Support for those involved in emotionally demanding research

Published: 17 September 2021

Invitation to join the Emotionally Demanding Research Network Scotland

Colleagues and PGRs based in the School of Social and Political Sciences and the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit have recently launched a peer network for those who are planning, conducting, supporting or studying emotionally demanding research in Scotland.

Who are we?

We are a group of researchers (including students, research support staff, and practitioners involved in research) with experience of conducting emotionally demanding/challenging research. Our aim is to connect people involved in this kind of work in order to better support each other in doing this research. We are open to thoughts and suggestions from members on how to grow and develop the network but we anticipate being able to connect online and meet in person (when possible) to share resources and experiences, and to connect with others for potential future collaboration.

We welcome interest, input and opportunities for practice sharing from those involved in this kind of research across the world. We hope to be able to grow the network in time but at the moment our meetings are limited to those based in, or conducting research in, Scotland.

What is ‘emotionally demanding research’?

Kumar and Cavallaro (2018) define this as “research that demands a tremendous amount of mental, emotional, or physical energy and potentially affects or depletes the researcher’s health or well-being.”

Such research might include:

  • research on sensitive issues (e.g., violence, abuse, mental health, chronic or terminal illness, death)
  • research similar to personal trauma previously experienced by the researcher
  • the researcher’s experience of traumatic life events while conducting a study
  • unexpected events that arise during research in what was previously not identified as a sensitive issue.

Kumar S, Cavallaro L. Researcher Self-Care in Emotionally Demanding Research: A Proposed Conceptual Framework. Qualitative Health Research. 2018;28(4):648-658

If you would like to join please complete this form:

For more information:

Or email

First published: 17 September 2021