This research methods case provides reflections on the challenges encountered during a doctoral research project. The research was an international participatory action research project exploring the challenges that adults face when implementing children and young people's participation. The fieldwork was undertaken in three non-governmental organisations in São Paulo, Brazil, and the research design formulated alongside participants at each of the three research sites. The tensions of this approach to research design are explored before moving on to discuss some of the complexities encountered when translating the principles of ethical research into practice in a fieldwork setting. I aim for this to be an honest reflexive account of the process that can be used to aid in planning for fieldwork and options for research design.