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Creative Responses to Methodological Issues in Researching a Schools-Based Family Residential Programme

By: Published: 2017 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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This case study focuses on a qualitative research project into families’ experiences of a schools-based family residential programme. This research project is part of a doctoral study exploring the development of a professional pedagogy of work with families through outdoor and experiential learning. While overall the research focuses on the developing practice of participating staff, it has been important to capture the experiences of the children and young people and their families who have been part of this programme. This case study focuses specifically on issues arising from developing a methodology which gave equal voice and value to children and adults, families, and workers. The research raised key ethical issues around power in relation to hearing children voices, talking with parents, and working within the multi-layered power dynamics between the school, families, and young people. This required careful and continuous attention to ethics and questions of who, where, and how research was carried out, finding the most appropriate methods and places in which to hear and collect the narratives of children and young people, their parents/carers, and school staff. It was important to be both reflexive and creative in identifying appropriate research methods including individual and group interviews, focus groups, and creative storytelling. The research process included significant challenges, some frustrations, and also some valuable opportunities to capture, mainly through storytelling, the perspectives of young people and their parents, and participating staff.

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