The research question under review is;
“How does having an offshore occupation impact the family dynamic?”
The aim of the study is to investigate whether or not having an offshore occupation has a detrimental impact on the dynamic of the family, particularly in relation to the spouse and their children.
There appears to be a gap in the literature concerning the adaptions to families whilst the male role figure is away for weeks at a time, despite major’s changes that have occurred across the industry. However, Parkes et al (2005) looked at the perceptions, attitudes and concerns of spouses of offshore workers from a psychological perspective. The results presented that spouses have a number of concerns relating to the offshore lifestyle and the impact it has on their children. Yet, the main concern was not related to their partner’s absence but the period for when they return home.
A further study conducted by Taylor and Simmonds (2009), looked at ‘Family Stress and Coping in the Fly-in Fly out (FIFO) Workforce.’ Their results found that the FIFO lifestyle incurred higher demands to survive within the lifestyle, than other ‘normal’ families. That high family functioning was strongly associated with healthy family cohesion and flexibility. Finally, through active communication families are enabled to respond effectively to change and stress.
The current study will be conducted through the focus group method. It was deemed appropriate for the research investigation because, focus groups are a distinctive and convenient¬ method for gathering qualitative data. They explicitly use group interaction as a part of the method. It encourages participants to be active and exchange their knowledge and experiences (Kitzinger 1994). The key advantage of focus groups is that they enable researchers to understand the true feelings and beliefs of people affected by the occupation. The rich depth of information achieved by this technique cannot necessarily be achieved in other methods, because it allows individual participation to be enhanced through a group setting (Morse 1994).
Furthermore, due to the nature of the technique Interviewers have the ability to alter or probe questions depending on the conversation. They present a more natural environment than structured interviews. This is because according to Kreueger (1994) (cited in Litosseliti 2003 p.2) individuals “are influencing and influence by others- just as they are in real life.”
Focus groups are advantageous when the interaction amongst the respondents produces valuable information to the researcher, whilst being co-operative and understanding of others perspectives. However, care must be taken to ensure all participants have an equal opportunity to express their views, as not all participants are comfortable expressing their opinions vocally.
Therefore, the interviewer, someone other than the researcher, should monitor the situation to avoid dominance from...