Realities finished their work in 2011. The impact report for the Realities node is available on ESRC website.
In this project Realities researchers investigated personal associations that are 'critical' in people's lives. Relationships with friends, acquaintances, or colleagues, may be significant because they are close and supportive. But equally they may be difficult or even 'toxic', and important relationships may be lost or ebb and flow over time.Realities researchers' emphasis on critical associations, and the methods they deployed to explore them, were designed to capture not only the positive and supportive aspects of significant personal associations, but also these more negative elements.
Methodological approaches included:
Critical Associations project homepage
In this project researchers at Realities explored dynamics between and within generations, and how generation itself is experienced. Their focus was on how older people live out their relationships with other generations, and whether and how they themselves identify with a generation.
Unlike most research in this area, Realities researchers did not confine their investigations to familial geneartional relationships, because they think that older people's interactions with non-family members of their own and other generations are highly significant to their quality of life and experiences of ageing.
Realities combined qualitative and quantitative approaches, using secondary analysis of data from a major national survey, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) and a new, linked, qualitative study with sub samples of ELSA participants and their younger friends, acquaintances and relatives.
Their methodological approach involved four linked elements: