Browsing Institute of Education Research Collection by Subjects
Now showing items 1-3 of 3
Capturing habitus: theory, method and reflexivity.Bourdieu’s career long endeavour was to devise both theoretical and methodological tools that could apprehend and explain the social world and its mechanisms of cultural (re)production and related forms of domination. Amongst the several key concepts developed by Bourdieu, habitus has gained prominence as both a research lens and a research instrument useful to enter individuals’ trajectories and ‘histories’ of practices. While much attention has been paid to the theoretical significance of habitus, less emphasis has been placed on its methodological implications. This paper explores the application of the concept of habitus as both theory and method across two sub-fields of educational research: graduate employment and digital scholarship practices. The findings of this reflexive testing of habitus suggest that bridging the theory-method comes with its own set of challenges for the researcher; challenges which reveal the importance of taking the work of application seriously in research settings.
Exorcising an ethnography in limbo.I feel haunted; troubled by the ethnography that I conducted some years ago of a new partnership group that was attempting to set up a community learning centre. I’m aware that it doesn’t sound like a particularly alarming research topic, and perhaps that is where some of the issues began. I did not expect an ethnographic haunting to occur. The partnership recruited me less than a year into the creation of the project and I spent two years as a sort of ‘researcher in residence’. The original idea was that I would observe the initial development of the project and then, when the community learning centre was established, I would research the centre’s activities and how they were experienced by village residents. However, fairly soon into the project, problematic dynamics developed within the group, leading to irreconcilable conflict between members. The community learning centre was never established and I was left to piece together an ethnography of a failed partnership. Researching an increasingly dysfunctional partnership was an emotionally exhausting activity, especially when relationships between members became progressively hostile. Managing data collection and analysis at this time was difficult, but I was shocked that, a number of months (and now years) later, revisiting the data for publication purposes remained uncomfortable. I managed to produce my PhD thesis on the back of this study, but I have not felt able to go back to the data, despite there being findings worthy of publication. This ethnography is in a state of limbo and is at risk of becoming lost forever. In this chapter, I explore the reasons for this and discuss lessons learned for future projects.
The nature of practitioner research: critical distance, power and ethicsResearching within one’s place of practice allows the researcher to have the unique position of knowing the participants and the research context. The relationship the participants have with the researcher will impact upon the disclosure of information differently than research conducted by someone outside the area of practice. This can be a benefit and a drawback for the participants, the area of practice and the researcher. However, as is demonstrated within this paper, the role the researcher adopts throughout the process of gathering information is not always clear. As a student on the Doctorate of Education programme myself, the nature of practitioner research and the complexities of this type of research is of great interest to me. Beginning to develop my own research project through this taught programme has allowed an opportunity to think through these challenges and wrestle with the complexity and contradiction, dilemma and incongruity which emerges from being a researching practitioner. Within this piece it is suggested that these quandaries can be considered from the perspective of critical distance, relationships and power and ethical considerations. The idea of considering these conflicts reflexively will be explored here. Although this discussion was not based on empirical research findings as such, it is anticipated that this piece will further the understanding of practitioner research in higher education from the position of being a student and through scholastic analysis of the Ed D programme providing a particular perspective on the nature of research.