Doorways of Understanding: A Generative Metaphor Analysis


  • Katie Haus Indiana University
  • Jaclyn Hadfield Louisiana State University
  • Kathryn LaRoche Purdue University
  • Barbara Dennis Indiana University
  • Ronna Turner University of Arkansas
  • Brandon Crawford Indiana University
  • Wen-Juo Lo University of Arkansas
  • Kristen Jozkowski Indiana University



generative metaphor, abortion attitudes, analytic metaphor


In this paper, we explore the use of a generative metaphor for analyzing qualitative interviews on abortion attitudes. U.S. abortion attitudes are notably complex and multidimensional, thus, requiring subtle, complex, and multidimensional tools of study. We used the generative metaphor of a "doorway" as an analytic tool to enable new understandings of abortion attitudes as expressed across 24 one-on-one semi-structured qualitative interviews with U.S. adults. The doorway metaphor gave us an understanding of the ways in which participants thought of their abortion attitudes as open to revision or change to some degree while also being closed to revision in other ways. This spectrum of openness and closedness does not come into view when examining abortion attitudes through the dichotomous framings. In this methodological paper, we thoroughly describe how we used the metaphor to explicate the complexities and multi-dimensionalities of a person's abortion attitudes.


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Author Biographies

Katie Haus, Indiana University

Katie HAUS is an advanced doctoral student working on a dual PhD in health behavior (School of Public Health) and qualitative and quantitative research methodology (School of Education) at Indiana University. She is currently integrating her interests in sexual health with her interests in creative epistemologies and critical methodologies to center human experience and outcomes in reproductive health.

Jaclyn Hadfield, Louisiana State University

Dr. Jaclyn HADFIELD is a multilingual cross-cultural behavioral scientist who specializes in mixed-methods, cross-cultural, and multilingual research (English/Spanish/Italian). Although in her research she explores various domains of public health, she predominantly focuses on social and behavioral determinants of health beliefs and behaviors among women within the domain of physical activity using theory-based methods with a translational and community-based approach. In her research, she aims to identify salient factors to inclusively influence intervention designs and improve women's physical activity behavioral engagement while reducing health disparities domestically and globally.

Kathryn LaRoche, Purdue University

Dr. Kathryn J. LaROCHE is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Health at Purdue University. As a public health social scientist and applied anthropologist, she carries out community-engaged, action- and intervention-oriented research about sexual and reproductive health with a focus on abortion and pregnancy.

Barbara Dennis, Indiana University

Dr. Barbara DENNIS is a professor in the Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methodology program at Indiana University. She studies methodological concepts such as validity and ethics in the context of critical qualitative research with a particular interest in methodological equity and justice. In her 2020 book, "Walking with strangers. Critical Ethnography and Educational Promise," nominated for several awards, she detailed the methodological inner workings of a long-term critical ethnography. In her most recent book, co-authored with Pengfei HAO, Karen ROSS, and Peiwei LI (2021), she advanced a practitioner/student centered approach to social science methodology.

Ronna Turner, University of Arkansas

Dr. Ronna C. TURNER is a professor in educational statistics and research methods and coordinator for the educational statistics and psychometrics concentration of the interdisciplinary Statistics and Analytics program at the University of Arkansas. She received her PhD in educational psychology from the University of Illinois, specializing in quantitative and evaluative research methodologies.

Brandon Crawford, Indiana University

Dr. Brandon CRAWFORD is a principal investigator on the Indiana University Abortion Attitudes Project (IUAPP) and an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Health Science in the School of Public Health at Indiana University Bloomington. His main areas of research include the measurement of attitudes regarding controversial social issues and examining the relationship between child maltreatment, child welfare experiences, and adverse life events throughout the life-course. He has expertise in the analysis of secondary data (including data with complex survey designs), survey development, and quantitative analyses.

Wen-Juo Lo, University of Arkansas

Dr. Wen-Juo LO is an associate professor and program co-coordinator in the Educational Statistics and Research Methodology (ESRM) program at the University of Arkansas. Before coming to the USA, he worked in a general hospital in Taiwan for five years and conducted inpatient and outpatient psychotherapy as well as psychological assessments. His research interests involve methodological issues related to latent factor modeling with a focus on psychometric methods in examining the validity and reliability of the psychological inventory.

Kristen Jozkowski, Indiana University

Dr. Kristen N. JOZKOWSKI is a principal investigator for the Indiana University Abortion Attitudes Project (IUAPP). She is the William L. Yarber Endowed Professor in Sexual Health in the Department of Applied Health Science in the School of Public Health, a senior scientist with the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, and affiliate faculty in gender studies at Indiana University. In her research, she focuses on sexual consent and refusal communication and abortion attitudes. She has expertise and training in mixed-methods and sexuality.


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How to Cite

Haus, K., Hadfield, J., LaRoche, K., Dennis, B., Turner, R., Crawford, B., … Jozkowski, K. (2024). Doorways of Understanding: A Generative Metaphor Analysis. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 25(1).



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