Fox, Alison; Busher, Hugh and Capewell, Carmel (2022). Introduction. In: Fox, Alison; Busher, Hugh and Capewell, Carmel eds. Thinking critically and ethically about research for education: Engaging with people’s voices for self-empowerment. London: Routledge, pp. 1–8.



There are many challenges in undertaking ethically and critically defensible qualitative research for education. The chapter outlines how the book tries to create a safe public space for researchers, whether novice or experienced, to reflect on the complexities of such decision-making. In each chapter, different researchers make explicit their values, how they worked to implement these in their research projects. Questions are raised about representation and voice, power and empowerment and what constitutes ethical research in each project. In so doing, researchers consider the messiness of the lived realities of research projects. This includes the difficulties in gaining ethical approval, especially when proposing methodologies such as visual and digital methodologies or proposing to work with people deemed vulnerable. To scaffold coherence in the book, chapter authors were invited to address a set of key questions, illustrating their answers with examples from their research practices to recount the challenges they faced. The chapters are arranged into two sections, the first focusing on those with and for children and young people and the second on adult learners. In the closing two chapters, the editors reflect on the main themes around ethicality and criticality emerging from the researchers’ accounts.

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