Methodological challenges in researching inclusive school cultures

Nind, Melanie; Benjamin, Shereen; Sheehy, Kieron; Collins, Janet and Hall, Kathy (2004). Methodological challenges in researching inclusive school cultures. Educational Review, 56(3) pp. 259–270.



This article addresses the methodological challenges faced in a pilot study of the processes and cultures of inclusion and exclusion in two primary school classrooms. The authors, who were the research team, engaged with a range of practical and ethical challenges, some of which face any researcher entering classroom contexts and some of which were specific to our focus on inclusive school processes and cultures. This article is about the latter: challenges of who decides that a school is inclusive and worthy of attention in an inclusion study; how we look for and recognize inclusive school cultures; how much we do and should change things that we find; and how to put children and their experiences at the centre of our research. We discuss the risks of pathologizing and objectifying children and a key issue that arose for us, the risk of problematizing teachers when (perhaps inevitably) we found more evidence of exclusionary than inclusionary processes at work.

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