04 November 2020Update

Covid Realities webinar: access our presentation about interviewing at a distance

On Tuesday 3rd November 2020, the Following Young Fathers Further team gave an invited keynote presentation for the Covid Realities research study webinar called ‘Interviewing at a distance: reflections on navigating practical, emotional, and methodological challenges’The webinar was chaired by Prof. Jane Millar and also included talks by Dr. David Robertshaw of the Welfare at a (Social) Distance project and Aimi King who is conducting a PhD about parent and toddler groups hosted by churches.

The presentation was an opportunity for us as a team to reflect on our experiences of planning for and conducting online and telephone interviews with young fathers and professionals who provide support to them. We focused in particular on issues of connection and connectivity; how do we establish and maintain connections with participants in a crisis context (and one characterised by social distancing requirements) while also managing the challenges that arise in terms of connectivity i.e. the kinds of technology that we use and that are (in)accessible, both to researchers and participants.? Our ethical considerations have cohered around a range of issues. In the presentation we specifically consider:

  • adapting different forms of interviewing with different participant groups (young fathers and professionals across the health and social care landscape),
  • the positives afforded by interviewing at a distance,
  • issues concerning digital and data exclusion (connectivity),
  • Building and sustaining connections with participants (including those we already knew and new participants), and
  • questions of democratisation in researcher/researched relationships.

If you are interested in hearing more about our work, please have a look at the recording of the presentation, which is available below:

The webinar prompted lots of questions and we note that we were asked some really important and reflective questions at the event, some of which we were unable to address directly at the time. We are therefore going to write a blog with our responses for the Covid Realities website to enable ongoing dialogue. Please watch the Covid Realities blog space, and ours, and do get in touch with the team on Twitter (@FollowingYFF) or via email to continue the conversations!

From our partners and young dads

[Speaking about support of young fathers] We’ve done a lot of kind of advocation and representing them, a lot of the time there’s involvement with statutory services. They don’t have the care of the young person, the care’s provided by the state or the mother, so we’ve attended lots of meetings with the young person to offer additional support and facilitated contact where necessary and offered just general emotional wellbeing, support, improving robustness and resilience, encouraging them to have as amicable relationship as possible.

Housing Charity

And I suppose it goes back to what we were saying before about behaviours, maybe the education side of stuff and the fact that men aren’t involved in those early conversations, you know, whether it is, I know they’re invited to come along to bumps to babies but I don’t know whether we go into the detail around some of that brain development side of stuff and things like that. Maybe that is the thing that really would change things. You know, if you were given all of that information about what happens to a child as they grow, in a scientific way, as easy to understand as possible, could be the thing that impacted on behaviour in the home.

Children's Charity

I think both a mother and father combined, it’s communicating and both being on the same page of what’s best for your child or children, and for both, it’s just being there 100% for them and not, like, putting yourself first, it’s, you know, putting the child’s interests first...

Jock, 33
I was 23 when I had my child

We need to be including, we need to not [just] be focusing on mum and child […] That’s a great focus but dad … dad’s not invisible, dad needs to be in the picture as well because there’s research that shows you the effect it has on children and families as a whole when dad isn’t in the picture, so services need to be changing the way in which they work so it’s more inclusive.

Children and Families Support Organisation

Cause I think a lot of the time, some of young people who end up having children have been through the care system or support systems and they can feel quite judged or labelled by organisations and it’s breaking the cycle and breaking them out of that to feel empowered to be able to take stuff back, that’s the real interest to me. So, it’s about getting support right, as in being there and giving advice and guidance and all them things that we can do, but also making sure that we are doing with people as opposed to people.

Children's Charity

One of the most successful projects we ever did was an informal dads’ group, and it used to be on Saturdays […] they did what they wanted, they used to do things like breakfast, and they would have breakfast together and talk about dad stuff and where they were taking their kids. And that group was always really well attended because there was never an agenda. They were never judged. They were just there together.

Children and Families Support Organisation

...the whole stay at home dad thing is not something to be ashamed of, you know, if you’re a dad and you wanna take your daughter out for the day, or you wanna take your kid out for the day on your own, well why is that frowned upon, why can’t you take your child out for the day

Toby, 26
I was 24 when I had my first child.

Oh…patience…compassion…tolerance, a whole boatload a’ that!  Honestly, I like a whole lot of life.  Sacrifice…compromise, yeah I think, yeah I think they, they would be the, the big, the five, I feel, I think that was five, they would be the main. 

Ben, 31
I was 20 when I had my child

We’re currently in touch with social services for two [dads] because they don’t understand why they can’t see their children because they haven’t been informed by social services, their partner. So there’s a massive communication breakdown with those young men, so that’s the main focus of what we’re dealing with at the minute.

Young Fathers' Support Organisation


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