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Fieldwork with children in school:Positioning oneself as an out-of-theordinary- adult

Författare:
  • Maria Heintz
Redaktör:
  • Katarina Jacobsson
  • Katarina Sjöberg
Publiceringsår: 2012
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 81-94
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Pondering on methods.
Dokumenttyp: Del av eller Kapitel i bok
Förlag: Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University

Abstract english

Researchers have emphasized the child’s perspective within social science since the 1990’s which has resulted in a shift in the view of children within research towards the recognition that  children are active, creative social agents in their own right. The main aim of this paper was to present methodological and ethical aspects regarding research with children on the basis of two propositions, the first being that research with children should emanate from the child’s perspective, and that the methods should be modified accordingly. The second proposition stresses the importance of continuously reflecting upon the ethical issues inherent in research with children. In relation to my propositions I discuss the implications of these ideas both on the role of the researcher and also from an ethical standpoint. The researcher’s role as an adult doing research with children is complex and I argue for a sensitive and reflective approach both with
regard to the choice of method and when it comes to ethical considerations. I also stress the importance of acknowledging that the children are the experts in their own field. A main conclusion is to use an out-of-the-ordinary-adult approach in order to reduce power structures embedded in the relationship between adults and children. This implies that the researcher positions himself/herself as an uninformed adult or as someone who is unaware of the actual meaning and essence of being a child today and actually openly shares this unawareness with the children.
Researchers have emphasized the child’s perspective within social science since the 1990’s which has resulted in a shift in the view of children within research towards the recognition that children are active, creative social agents in their own right. The main aim of this paper was to present methodological and ethical aspects regarding research with children on the basis of two propositions, the first being that research with children should emanate from the child’s perspective, and that the methods should be modified accordingly. The second proposition stresses the importance of continuously reflecting upon the ethical issues inherent in research with children. In relation to my propositions I discuss the implications of these ideas both on the role of the researcher and also from an ethical standpoint. The researcher’s role as an adult doing research with children is complex and I argue for a sensitive and reflective approach both with regard to the choice of method and when it comes to ethical considerations. I also stress the importance of acknowledging that the children are the experts in their own field. A main conclusion is to use an out-of-the-ordinary-adult approach in order to reduce power structures embedded in the relationship between adults and children. This implies that
the researcher positions himself/herself as an uninformed adult or as someone who is unaware of the actual meaning and essence of being a child today and actually openly shares this unawareness with the children.

Keywords

  • Social Work

Other

Published
Maria Heintz. Foto: Patrik Hekkala
E-post: maria [dot] heintz [at] soch [dot] lu [dot] se

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