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Radcliffe's Murray Research Center Acquires Carol Gilligan's Data

Radcliffe's Henry A. Murray Research Center has acquired data from several studies by the renowned gender scholar and psychologist Carol Gilligan. Best known for her groundbreaking In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women's Development (Harvard University Press, 1982), Gilligan is a pioneer in exploring psychological and moral development in girls. The Murray has acquired data from Gilligan's Abortion Decision Study, which is the crux of In a Different Voice, as well as data from nine other Gilligan studies of girls' development between the ages of 7 and 16.

One of the three studies discussed in In a Different Voice, the Abortion Decision Study was initiated in 1975 when 29 women were referred to Gilligan by abortion and pregnancy counseling services. The women were interviewed during their first trimester at a time when they were considering abortion, and then again one year later. Participants ranged in age from 15 to 33 and were diverse in ethnic background and socioeconomic status. The interviews were in two parts: The first explored the decision the women faced and the ways in which making the decision affected their views of themselves and their relationships with others. The second asked the women to resolve three hypothetical moral dilemmas. The center holds interview transcripts from both waves of data collection.

In addition to the Abortion Decision Study, the center has acquired data from Gilligan's studies of girls' development. Conducted between 1981 and 1992, the studies examine the psychological development of girls ranging in age from 6 to 17 in a variety of settings throughout the Northeast. To explore the ways in which young girls experience and understand their lives, Gilligan conducted several projects employing a combination of longitudinal design, questionnaires, and qualitative interviewing techniques. The nine Gilligan studies acquired by the Murray Research Center are:

  • The Emma Willard School Study (1981-1984)
  • The Boys and Girls Club Study (1985)
  • The Urban Adolescent Community Project (1986)
  • The Blake School Study (1986-1990)
  • The Middlesex School Study (1984-1986)
  • The Laurel School Study (1986-1990)
  • The Cambridge School Study (1987-1990)
  • The Atrium School Study (1989-1991)
  • The Tobin School Study (1990-1992)

Gilligan used these data in several books, all published by Harvard University Press: Making Connections: The Relational Worlds of Adolescent Girls at Emma Willard School, edited by Gilligan, Nona Lyons, and Trudy Hanmer (1990); Meeting at the Crossroads: Women's Psychology and Girls' Development by Lyn Mikel Brown and Gilligan (1992); and Between Voice and Silence: Women and Girls, Race and Relationship edited by Jill McClean Taylor, Gilligan, and Amy Sullivan (1995).

The data from these studies are available for secondary analysis at the Murray Research Center, which is located at 10 Garden Street in Radcliffe Yard. Due to the highly confidential nature of the materials, access is restricted to researchers approved by the contributor.

Dedicated to the study of lives over time, the Henry A. Murray Research Center promotes the use of existing social science data to explore human development in the context of social change. The Murray Center data archive is unique in that it holds many longitudinal studies, and that it includes not only quantitative data, but also qualitative materials such as case histories, open-ended interviews, and audio- and videotapes.

The Murray Center promotes research by providing scholars and students access to data, by offering workshops and courses on social science methodology, and by supporting research through its grants program. For more information on the studies, visit the Murray Center web site at http://www.radcliffe.edu/murray.

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Last modified on Thursday, January 16, 2003.