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Researching in the Field

Researchers in the field with children

The Centre for Education and International Development is concerned to help develop the capacity of researchers working in the field. There is considerable need to develop our understanding of the socio-cultural, economic and political conditions which shape education, but also the lived experiences of those children and their families attending schools, colleges and universities in their communities or in some cases, miles away from home. Uncovering and understanding the significance of these conditions which shape research inquiry within the Global South, whether in rural or urban sites, whether with particular groups suffering discrimination and marginalisation demand considerable skills on the part of the individual researcher or the research team. Our various research programme has taken us into communities, schools and homes exploring the lives of those with disabilities, unemployed youth, young girls and boys experiencing difficult schooling careers or out of school, those in child labour or experiencing major issues relating to health, sexuality, or violence.

Some of our research teams are insiders sharing knowledge, culture and religion with the communities they research, whilst others are educated and strangers to the settings which they find themselves working in.  International researchers and partners have a long way to go to understand the different contexts in which education operates – in a number of ways, the prescriptions of Western social science can be an obstacle to facilitating that understanding and hence there is a need for a critical reflexive approach to the use of existing social scientific epistemologies,  methodologies, research methods and forms of data analysis.  With this in mind, we have included some of the materials and publications which we have developed and which we offer as a trigger for discussion. 

There are a number of initiatives which members of the Centre has developed which draw on direct fieldwork experience.  These initiatives are evolving in ways which aim to encourage greater understanding and knowledge of social context, a consideration and adaptation of various research methodologies and the development of research capability.  Five elements are included here:

  • Qualitative Research Training Manual
  • Researching Ethically Across Cultures
  • Internationalising Education Research Cultures and Graduate Training
  • Research fieldwork experiences