The Boston-area HASWIC Research Circle: An Innovative Participatory Method for Coloring in the Picture of a Special Work Environment

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Recent qualitative studies have investigated some of the hazards affecting women in non-traditional trades such as construction. However, one-time interactions among researcher participants, and between researchers and participants, in standard settings such as focus groups and interviews, cannot provide the time, space, and relationships to fully explore tradeswomen's in-depth knowledge of their work environment. This study applied a Scandinavian method called the Research Circle to convene a group of experienced women construction workers repeatedly over a period of two years so they could collaborate with researchers in explaining workplace issues. The results both validated and expanded upon previous findings about health and safety for women in construction, including gender discrimination, lack of access to sanitary facilities, retaliation for reporting hazards and injuries, and inadequate training and equipment. Especially important, findings illustrate some of the complex hierarchical social structures involved in both female and male construction workers responding to hazardous conditions.


Link to the PubMed version of this article, published in NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy, Vol. 17, Iss. 1-2: http://baywood.metapress.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.2190/Q364-44T7-P7X8-3652


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