ERIC Number: ED440812
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Neither Objective nor Neutral? Reflecting on My Subjectivity throughout the Research Process in Takiwa School.
An educational researcher describes and reflects on a qualitative research project she conducted, focusing on her positioning, neutrality, and objectivity throughout the research process and during subsequent data analysis. The research took place in a K-12 school in a remote rural New Zealand community inhabited by Maori, 1970s "hippies," and more recent arrivals seeking an "alternative" lifestyle away from urban areas. The research focused on the politics of the development of a progressivist, alternative learning unit within the school, promoted primarily by newcomer parents. The researcher had been a teacher and associate principal in the school for 4 years, then went to a university and was immersed in the discipline of educational sociology for 4 years; thus she came to the project with both insider and outsider status and perspective. This paper discusses the project's interpretivist methodology, the researcher's commitment to community empowerment through participative problem solving, research ethics, the assets and liabilities of the insider perspective, and whether objectivity is possible in research. The conclusion contends that although this research has validity, the researcher's positioning and resources make it impossible for the thesis to be fully objective or fully neutral. It is suggested that other educational researchers, despite claims to the contrary, are also neither fully objective nor fully neutral in their research practices. (Contains 31 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Educational Researchers, Educational Sociology, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethics, Ethnography, Foreign Countries, Objectivity, Personal Narratives, Qualitative Research, Researcher Subject Relationship, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, Small Schools
For full text: http://www.swin.edu.au/aare/.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand