14 SES 14 A, Family Involvement in Educational Research - Innovative, Ethical and Respectful Research with Families
Now more than ever, raising and educating children in these rapidly changing times is a collective undertaking and one where a range of stakeholders including children, educators, parents and communities are involved. A significant body of empirical studies confirm the critical role that parents and significant adults play in supporting a child’s learning and development across the lifecourse (Emerson, Fear, Fox, & Sanders, 2012). However, when it comes to seeking the insight of family members in educational research, or on matters which they have a vested interest in, we still have so much to learn in terms of affording opportunities for them to share their voice, perspectives and input. On the surface, engaging in educational research with families may appear to be deceptively simple, however in these uncertain times there are unexpected complexities and broader research and ethical dilemmas (in terms of increased pressures on families; family upheaval; lack of trust in the educational system; and the interplay between power and powerlessness), which can impede family involvement at various stages of the inquiry process. Considerations related to these and other issues requires a particular skill set and critical decision-making to ensure that the rights and wellbeing of each party is considered, and that the methods employed afford for ethical and respectful research practices (Hammersley, 2015; Palaiologou, 2014). This presentation affords delegates the opportunity to deeply consider how interpretations of participant involvement translate into ethical, respectful and authentic educational research with families. Such a perspective includes the valuing of social justice, democracy and the acknowledgement of participants’ voice, rights and agency (Foster & Young, 2015; Palaiologou, 2014; Tuck, 2016). It is also anticipated that by engaging in these associated themes that we might be motivated to re-frame, re-imagine and perhaps even re-position our current perspectives on ‘participant involvement’ in these complex and rapidly changing times (Brown, 2019).
Brown, A. (2019). Respectful research with and about young families – Forging frontiers and methodological considerations. London: Palgrave Pivot. Emerson, L., Fear, J., Fox, S., & Sanders, E. (2012). Parental engagement in learning and schooling: Lessons from research. A report by the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) for the Family-School and Community Partnerships Bureau. Retrieved from Canberra, Australia: Foster, V., & Young, A. (2015). Reflecting on participatory methodologies: research with parents of babies requiring neonatal care. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 18(1), 91-104. Hammersley, M. (2015). On ethical principles for social research. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 128(4), 433-449. Kendall, S., Straw, S., Jones, M., Springate, I., & Grayson, H. (2008). Narrowing the gap in outcomes for vulnerable groups: A review of the research evidence. Retrieved from Palaiologou, I. (2014). ‘Do we hear what children want to say?’ Ethical praxis when choosing research tools with children under five. Early Child Development and Care, 184(5), 689-705. Tuck, E. (2016). In conversation with Michelle Fine. Inner angles: Of ethical responses to/with indigenous and decolonizing theories. In N. D. M. Giardina (Ed.), Ethical futures in qualitative research: Decolonizing the politics of knowledge (International congress of qualitative inquiry series) (pp. 145-168). London: Routledge.
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