14 SES 14 A, Family Involvement in Educational Research - Innovative, Ethical and Respectful Research with Families
We are living in a rapidly changing world, one in which those in education are required to adapt, become innovative, and at times even reframe understandings, pedagogy and the way we interpret and respond to phenomena. This continual upheaval and evidence of change is also lived and reflected in the fabric of society, where families are embedded in a world that is substantially different to that of any previous generation (Moore, McDonald, McHugh-Dillon, & West, 2016; Zubrick et al., 2012). Change is also reflected in constructions of ‘family’, and how families see and position themselves. Therefore, how we respond, connect to and engage with families in these changing times, as well as how we demonstrate empathy of their perspectives, concerns and positions, will determine the quality of relationships we have, as well as our effectiveness in involving and working with families as partners in the education, and educational research.
Affording family members the opportunity to engage with us in inquiry, and to share their stories, reflects the value placed on their voices and insights. In doing so, we celebrate how their understandings contribute to our understandings of their lives, behaviours and nuanced worlds in times of risk, uncertainty, and continual change. How do we as educational researchers take into consideration the changing interpretations of family, or the changes that families are experiencing, when planning to enter their private lives and domestic spaces for research? How does this changing world impact on the way we research with, about and involve families in inquiry? What are the conditions and considerations that need to be put in place in engaging with and about families?
For those involved in research with and about young families, a heightened awareness of the changing positioning of families and the idiosyncratic impact that the ‘Era of risk’ potentially has on ‘the family’ is critical, in order to engage in a successful research relationships. Furthermore, adopting practices that are ethical and respectful assists us in producing rich data, ensuring benefits for all stakeholders, and representing new possibilities in rendering our research with families respectfully, authentically, and dialogically (Brown, 2019).
This symposium shares examples of innovative inquiry, and methodological considerations from three different international perspectives, Australia, Ireland and Spain. Collective, these perspectives demonstrate efforts to privilege the ‘voices of children and families’, and evidence the potential for change to be reflected in approaches to inquiry.
Brown, A. (2019). Respectful research with and about young families – Forging frontiers and methodological considerations. London: Palgrave Pivot. Moore, T., McDonald, M., McHugh-Dillon, H., & West, S. (2016). Community engagement: A key strategy for improving outcomes for Australian families. Retrieved from Melbourne VIC: Zubrick, S., Smith, G., Nicholson, J., Sanson, A., Jackiewicz, T., & LSAC Research Consortium. (2012). Parenting and families in Australia. Retrieved from Canberra, Australia: https://www.dss.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/sprp34.pdf
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