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Examining and exploring issues of power and ethics in researching marginalised youth : the dilemmas of the practitioner researcher

Mowat, Joan G. (2015) Examining and exploring issues of power and ethics in researching marginalised youth : the dilemmas of the practitioner researcher. In: Researching Marginalized Groups. Routledge, London, pp. 75-89. ISBN 9781317581215

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Abstract

This chapter explores and examines the ethical dimensions and dilemmas of engaging in practitioner research on a marginalised group – young people experiencing Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties (SEBD) - within the context of a Secondary school in the West of Scotland, situated in an area of multiple deprivation. It examines a wide range of issues pertaining to power and authority, role conflict, identity, subjectivity, boundaries, communication, confidentiality, anonymity, child welfare and the integrity of the research process. It sets this within the context of an evaluative case study of an intervention, developed and implemented by the author with a team of volunteers (principally Pastoral Care and Behaviour Support Teachers), to support children with SEBD. The key messages are for the need to adopt a reflexive and sensitive approach, taking account of culture and context and, at all times, to be guided by the highest ethical principles of respect, openness, honesty and integrity.