Walking the tight rope: The positionality of the researcher

Messenger, Wendy and Hurd, Azora J and Smith, Nicola (2016) Walking the tight rope: The positionality of the researcher. In: 26th EECERA Conference, 31st August to 3rd Sept 2016, Dublin, Eire.

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This paper seeks to examine the position of the researcher within a doctoral study entitled 'The influence of professional cultures on collaborative working in Children's Centres'. It draws upon previous studies by Berger (2105), Walker (2007) and Eide and Kahn (2008). Drawing upon identity theory with reference to Woodward (1997, Hudson (2002) and Weedon (2004) this paper makes reference to reflexivity, ethical dilemmas and insider/outsider tensions. The study, based within the interpretivist paradigm, drawing upon grounded theory, sought to elicit the voices of teachers, early years practitioners, health workers and family support workers. Sixteen semi-structured interviews and a focus group took place within a case study Children's Centre and twelve semi-structured interviews took place with 'others' from Children's Centres outside the case study. Written consent was sought from participants at every stage, and confidentiality and anonymity were ensured by the use of pseudonyms throughout. This paper considers some of the ethical tensions that were encountered in relation to the positionality of the researcher. Ways in which these were addressed through engagement with a learning circle, critical friends and a focus group will be examined. As researchers, we cannot separate ourselves from the research activities in which we are engaged. Our world view is informed by our professional heritage, gender, ethnicity, beliefs, and emotional responses, these all have an impact upon the research process. It is important for researchers to develop strategies to enable reflexivity to be maintained throughout. Peer review opportunities and developing peer support networks could be a way forward.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Researcher positionality, ethics, insider/outsider researcher, reflexivity, children's centres
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology. > HV40-69 Social Work
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Health and Social Care > Social Work
Research Priority Areas: Sport, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2016 15:17
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2016 15:17
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3874

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