'That's like my life': Researching stories of non-heterosexual relationships

Brian Heaphy, Jeffrey Weeks, Catherine Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article considers key methodological issues that have emerged in a study of the structure and meaning of non-heterosexual (lesbian, gay, bisexual or 'queer') relationships. Despite an increasing public profile, the developing patterns of 'families of choice' remain under-researched, and give rise to important theoretical questions about identity, intimacy and sexuality. The authors discuss the problems of accessing a 'hidden' population, non-heterosexuals' motivation for being researched, and the difficulties of defining sexual identities. A focus on interviewing highlights the complex nature of the concepts and vocabularies that we employ to make sense of relationships, the elements at play in the formation of interview accounts of intimate life, and the issue of boundaries in research on the intimate. The article concludes by considering the validity of respondents' accounts of their lives, and the research narratives that result. © 1998 SAGE Publications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-470
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998


  • Boundaries
  • Ethics
  • Families of choice
  • Identities
  • Non-heterosexual relations
  • Qualitative method


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