Monday, 19 August 2013

Further, further considerations!

Okay, so it seems that now I've started reflecting deeper about subjectivity, validity, responsibility and safety (see blogs Further considerations, Laying the Path - part two, and Scribblings), I just can't stop!

What is currently running around my brain is this:

As researcher I aim to involve my participants in meaningful, interesting and engaging research that provides anonymity, confidentiality, safety, and benefit. I can do this by realising, and acknowledging, my reasoning, approach, standpoint and interaction with all aspects of my research and taking steps to limit bias, misrepresentation and overstatement.

However, I'm not just a researcher am I? I'm also a teacher. And a teacher of the students that are participating in my research.

So this leads to a secondary responsibility, and potential area for harm, in that I don't just walk away from things at the end of the research process but continue to have a professional relationship with all participants.
What I'm trying to say is this, what I choose to do with the 'data' during the research is the responsibility of my role as ethical researcher but what I do, or more importantly don't do, with it afterwards, as teacher, has the potential to be way more harmful. For example, students are honest, insightful and open about their experiences in the dance class, yet after collection and analysis, there is no sign, in my teaching, of having taken on board any of their ideas or information. Wouldn't this reinforce the 'nobody really listens to us so what's the point' attitude that some children might feel (based on previous experience of adults).
From an ethical point of view this would also mean that I have failed in my responsibility, as researcher, to ensure that no participant suffers harm, in this case, in a psychological manner, as a result of my research.

In an attempt to eliminate such problems I must ensure to promote, and that each student understands, the limitations of my inquiry and not overstate any claims to 'changing the way I, or others, teach.'

Helen Roberts states,
The 'is it worth it?' 'what will happen to this research?' question is a reasonable response from those with whom we research to the demands made by the researcher on their time (2004).
And, I believe that, firstly, by understanding, and, secondly, by the way I approach the answering of, these two questions - for myself (reflection on) and my students (explanation about) - will affect both research and professional practice.

It is clear to me that time spent before engaging in inquiry, on reading, reflecting, designing, adjusting and planning, is vital to the overall success of my research.
And I mean that not in the 'my research is going to change the world' sense but the 'my first role as teacher/ researcher is, to quote an earlier part of this blog, to involve my participants in meaningful, interesting and engaging research that provides anonymity, confidentiality, safety, and benefit' sense!


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