Social Research Methods and Research Practices > Social Research Methods
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This chapter uses the concept of reflexivity to discuss how child voice, as distinct from children’s participation, is the product of a dynamic interplay of relationships that occurs within and outside of the child protection system. A critical reflection of the significant role of political structures, processes, relationships, narratives, and the linkages between them in child protection work shows the complex variables that influence the implementation of child voice in child protection. The multiplicity of socio-cultural aspects of participation, policymaking, and practice with children is discussed in terms of an ‘ecosystem’ that draws attention to the complexity of structural and cultural conditions that influence child voice. Moreover, our understanding of child voice can be developed by making tangible the unarticulated politicisation of child voice that sits in the background of everyday practice.
This chapter is a reflection on the methods and ethics of doing fieldwork with highly vulnerable children. Fired up with good intentions, a knowledge of children’s rights, and a belief in the necessity of child-focused anthropology, a quarter of a century ago I went to Thailand with the aim of working with child prostitutes. My naive intention was to explore the children’s lives and suggest solutions to the problems they faced. I found the reality very different from my expectations, and therefore this chapter looks at the lacuna between my theoretical knowledge of ethics and the difficulties I had making sense of them on the ground. Here I discuss how my feelings about this work have changed over time and I interrogate the mistakes I made during both fieldwork and ‘writing up’. The chapter looks at the strengths and weaknesses of child-centred anthropology, raising questions about how to interpret children’s voices when they do not fit with one’s own worldview or morality. In doing so it looks at the lifelong impacts such research can have on both researcher and researched and questions the purpose of such research and whose needs it fulfils
This chapter presents personal reflections and insights from my own fieldwork experiences. These ethnographic studies involved the children of sex workers in a red -light area in Pune, India, and children living in the conflict zone of Indian-administered Kashmir. The chapter addresses questions of reflexivity as an ethical stance, and the integral and dynamic role of researcher identity, which highlights the emotional labour of doing research on such sensitive research themes. This chapter also evaluates methods, tools, and fieldwork practices used to elicit the views of vulnerable children often neglected in such controversial and contested topics.
This chapter discusses childhood and research with children, particularly those living in peripheral countries or contexts of multiple disadvantages. It centres on reflexivity as a tool for diminishing barriers of research, whether power, privilege, or binaries of us–them. The chapter acknowledges childhood essentialisms reproduced by dominant traditions and agendas, and calls for a shift in the ‘gaze’ on childhood. The discussion outlines the unequal contexts of the indigenous Sabar community as the focus of the study, upon which reflexive discussions are based. Observing research as a ‘site for reflexivity’, the chapter elucidates the reflexive strategies (such as reciprocity and relationality) adopted to emphasise the invisibilised voice of the Sabar children and adults. In doing so, it undertakes an examination of how reflexivity may respond to children’s ontological realities, epistemological differences, or ‘ways of being, knowing and doing’. This chapter contributes to a call for a methodological and ethical ‘turn’ in research, in order to engage peripheral childhoods. In concluding, the chapter discusses the possibilities of reflexivity moving beyond researcher positionality and structural negotiations, to the ontological, methodological, and epistemic framings of research. It proposes that such a reflexive ‘turn’, in acknowledging other-ness, can decentre dominant discourses, knowledge production, and dissemination.
This chapter reflects upon the movement towards young people as drivers of social change in relation to research, policy, and practice. Young people are critical in influencing the reformation of youth provision and are recognised as experts in their own lived realities. Recent efforts have been made to ensure that young people have an active participatory voice in shaping service development. While the move towards such co-production and participation is commendable, it is equally important to be critical and reflexive of this process. This chapter challenges the current discourse around the notion of participation, focusing on the embedding of consultation and co-production with young people. Based on focus group interviews and creative methods, with over 90 young people this chapter highlights the relational processes and the unpredictable nature of research with young people.
Working mothers face challenges in pursuing their career aspirations due to work–family conflict. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has posed added challenges for working mothers by increasing care demands while also causing numerous health, economic and social disruptions. In this paper, we examine the impact of COVID-19 on Korean working mothers’ career aspirations. We employ a longitudinal qualitative design by analysing 64 in-depth interviews with 32 mothers of young children in South Korea. By interviewing the same women before (2019) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020), we are able to document how working mothers’ career aspirations were impacted by COVID-19. Findings show that all working mothers in the sample experienced increased care demands due to COVID-19. However, the influence of COVID-19 on working mothers’ career aspirations hinged on gendered beliefs related to childcare responsibility. When working mothers believed or were subjected to beliefs that mothers should be the primary caregiver for children (gendered care belief), their career aspirations were tempered or relinquished. On the other hand, those who believed that mothers should not be held solely responsible for childcare (gender egalitarian care belief) continued to pursue their career aspirations or experienced career advancements during COVID-19. Findings suggest that beliefs related to care responsibilities play an important role in working mothers’ pursuit of their career aspirations, and potentially their future careers.
Good background research enables researchers to clarify their thinking regarding their research question and its context in the work of others. It can support the importance, necessity, or relevance of research and enables researchers to find and develop their own standpoint. After a brief introduction, this chapter describes the similarities and differences between document reviews for workplace research and literature reviews for academic research. The importance of good record-keeping is discussed and advice on when and how to read critically or strategically is provided. Ways to find useful academic journal articles are outlined and information is given about how to conduct document reviews and literature reviews. This is followed by information on finding open access materials, using libraries, making notes and knowing when to stop! The chapter concludes with an update of the case studies followed by exercises, discussion questions and a debate topic.
Doing, and using, research is on the increase in public services. Researchers and practitioners need to learn about research techniques and processes so they can understand and make effective use of research in their work, whether or not they are actually conducting research. It is the author’s hope that this book will benefit anybody involved in research in the public services, whether that is part of their paid employment, volunteer work or study. This chapter provides a conclusion to the book and summarises the key points made in the earlier chapters of the book including a list of best practice actions that researchers should take in order to produce good quality, useful research.
The point of disseminating the results of research or evaluation is to share the knowledge gained through the process. Dissemination is not easy but there is no point in doing research if no-one finds out what was discovered. This chapter begins with guidance on how to produce a summary followed by an outline of the barriers to disseminating research, advice on presenting in person and some key points about sharing findings online. There is a brief overview of data visualisation methods then the advantages and disadvantages of different methods of dissemination are discussed. The similarities and differences of workplace and academic research are presented, followed by a discussion of the ethics of dissemination. The chapter concludes with an update of the case studies followed by exercises, discussion questions and a debate topic.
Most people do – or commission, or fund – research because they want to create positive change in the world. This is, ultimately, what research is for. The chapter starts with an overview of the potential impacts of research and the ways in which research evidence can be used to guide policy. Implementation is covered next and includes a discussion of potential barriers and how to create an effective implementation strategy. A section on knowledge exchange explores the ways that research and practice can influence each other to produce progressively better results. The recent move towards a more holistic way of undertaking research is then discussed introducing the terms ‘knowledge translation’ and ‘knowledge mobilisation’. The chapter concludes with an update of the case studies followed by exercises, discussion questions and a debate topic.