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Research Ethics: Reflections from Fieldwork with Children in India

Poonam Sharma (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India)

Ethics, Ethnography and Education

ISBN: 978-1-83982-247-6, eISBN: 978-1-80071-008-5

Publication date: 23 June 2022


This chapter derives from ethnographic fieldwork conducted in a town close to Delhi, India. The research focused on schooling experiences of children from communities that are traditionally considered underprivileged. It required shadowing children throughout the day. This chapter reports on the experiences of researching with children and the ways in which child participation and research ethics emerged during the year of fieldwork. The idea of ‘child participation’ in the research process – within the Indian context is explored. The discourse around ethics in the current literature is primarily concerned with ideas of consent, gatekeeping and respecting children's rights. This chapter discusses the significance of the cultural contexts of the field in shaping the research ethics and developing what ‘child participation’ meant for children and their parents within this specific cultural context. It does so by elaborating on contradictions that existed between the way the ethnographer positioned the child and the way children are positioned in families and schools, where children's participation, opinion and consent are often silently presumed by the parents much more so than in a Euro-American context. Children are viewed as active agents, knowledgeable about their own positions in the research process.



Sharma, P. (2022), "Research Ethics: Reflections from Fieldwork with Children in India", Russell, L., Barley, R. and Tummons, J. (Ed.) Ethics, Ethnography and Education (Studies in Educational Ethnography, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 49-65.



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Copyright © 2022 Poonam Sharma. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited