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“Tell Me How I Can Get to Know You”: Negotiating Research Strategies With Late Arrivals in Norwegian Schools in Field Conversations

Case
By: Joke Dewilde Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Abstract

As part of a larger Nordic study, I got to study six pupils who had moved to Norway in their late teens: the students whom I call Ahmed, Bahar and Nargis, Mohammed, and Helen and Mikeline respectively from Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea allowed me into their life worlds. In addition to a linguistic ethnographic approach where I observed and audio recorded them in and outside of school, I wished to actively involve the young people in the way I studied them. In response to my prompt "Tell me how I can get to know you," Mohammed, for example, suggested that he should write short texts at the end of our interviews, resembling those he wrote at home, and Bahar suggested that I become her Facebook friend. This case study is about how I negotiated ways of studying young people that would allow me to get to know them in a different way at the same time as empowering them as young participants. It is about relationship building, trust, expectations, sensitivity, respect and ethical boundaries. To illustrate the negotiation process, I draw on audio-recorded field conversations, instant Facebook messages and fieldnotes. I reflect upon the gains but also ethical challenges of handing over some of the responsibility for the study to the young participants.

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