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The challenges of insider research in educational institutions: wielding a double-edged sword and resolving delicate dilemmas

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journal contribution
posted on 2009-09-09, 14:03 authored by Justine Mercer
This paper explores the challenges faced by educational researchers investigating the places where they work. It reviews the literature on insider research and draws upon the author's own experience of researching faculty appraisal at two Higher Education institutions where she taught. It argues that the insider/outsider dichotomy is actually a continuum with multiple dimensions, and that all researchers constantly move back and forth along a number of axes, depending upon time, location, participants and topic. The assumption that one kind of research is better than the other is challenged, and the advantages and disadvantages of insider research are discussed in terms of access, intrusiveness, familiarity and rapport. Finally, three dilemmas relating to informant bias, reciprocity in interviews, and research ethics are examined from an insider researcher's perspective, and the ways in which the author responded to these dilemmas at different points in her own four-year two-site study are critiqued.

History

Citation

Oxford Review of Education, 2007, 33 (1), pp. 1-17.

Published in

Oxford Review of Education

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

issn

0305-4985

eissn

1465-3915

Available date

2009-09-09

Publisher version

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03054980601094651

Notes

This is the author's final draft of the paper published as Oxford Review of Education, 2007, 33 (1), pp. 1-17. The final version is available online at http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all?content=10.1080/03054980601094651 Doi: 10.1080/03054980601094651

Language

en

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