Author: Wan Ching Yee and Jane Andrews
Institution: University of Bristol
Full reference: Yee, W. C. and Andrews, J. (2006) ‘Professional researcher or a ‘good guest’? Ethical dilemmas involved in researching children and families in the home setting’, Educational Review, 58: 4, 397 — 413
In this article the authors explore their experiences of researching children and families in the home setting. The article argues that the private nature of the home environment and the relationships it supports present some important challenges to researchers employed to collect data from children and their families. The researchers discuss the impact of the home setting on some ethical and methodological issues which arose in the course of conducting field work. They consider issues of consent, confidentiality, power, leaving the field and specifically their dilemmas, both personal and professional, around researcher identity. They suggest that these dilemmas can be encapsulated as a struggle between the conflicting requirements of the professional researcher and the ‘good guest’.
The paper draws upon interviews undertaken by the researchers with over 100 children and families as part of a Home School Knowledge Exchange project. The authors reflect on some of the literature on research with children and the efficacy of the official guidance provided to researchers in the form of codes of practice for work in the home setting.