Ethics of Insider Research issues

Autumn Term 2008
January 18th 2008
Dr Vivienne Griffiths
Session outline
In this session, issues for researchers carrying out practitioner research within a quality
and accountability context will be explored with reference to key concepts and examples
of practice. After a brief introduction to the current quality context for education and
social work and aspects of quality management, the two readings will be critically
analysed and discussed using a guided reading approach. From this, major benefits and
problems for insider researchers will be identified, including the balancing of dual or
multiple roles and ethical issues such as informed consent and confidentiality. The group
will draw on their own professional practice and research plans to highlight implications
for research and practice.
Learning objectives of session
Participants will engage in active, critical enquiry through guided reading and group
discussion in order to:
 begin to develop an understanding of insider and ethical issues involved in
practitioner research;
 locate their professional practice within a context of quality and accountability;
 reflect on their dual or multiple roles as practitioner researchers.
 identify implications for research and practice.
Key readings for session
Griffiths, V. (2007) Experiences of training on an employment-based route into teaching
in England, Journal of In-Service Teaching, 33 (1) 107-123.
Mercer, J. (2007) The challenge of insider research in educational institutions: wielding a
double-edged sword and resolving difficult dilemmas, Oxford Review of Education, 33
(1) 1-17.
Follow up reading
Groundwater-Smith, S. & Mochler, M. (2007) Ethics in practitioner research: an issue of
quality, Research Papers in Education, special issue, Assessing quality in applied
and practice-based research in education: continuing the debate, 22 (2) 199-211.
McGinn, Michelle K., & Bosacki, Sandra L. (2004) Research ethics and practitioners:
concerns and strategies for novice researchers engaged in graduate education,
Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5 (2) Art.
6. On-line Journal, available at:
Other references
Becket, N. & Brookes, M. (2005) Analysing quality audits in higher education, Brookes
eJournal of Learning and Teaching, 1 (2) 1-12. On-line journal. Available at:
Brannick, T., Coghlan, D. (2007) In defense of being ‘native’: the case for insider
academic research, Organizational Research Methods, 10 (1) 59-74.
Bridges, D. (2007) Insider and Outsider Research, Resources for Research in Education,
Teaching and Learning Resource Programme
Brundrett, M. & Rhodes, C. (2008) School Leadership for Quality and Accountability,
London: Routledge.
Burke, P.J. & Kirton, A. (2006) Editorial, Reflecting Education, special issue on insider
practitioner research, 2 (1) 1-4.
Clifford, D. & Royce M. (2008) Equality, diversity, ethics and management in social
work education, Social Work Education, 27 (1) 3-18.
Coghlan, D. (2001) Insider action research projects: implications for practising managers,
Management Learning, 32 (1) 49-50.
Coghlan, D., Shani, A.B. (Rami) (2008), Insider action research: the dynamics of
developing new capabilities, in Reason, P.& Bradbury, H. (eds), Handbook of
Action Research, 2nd ed., Sage: London.
Elliott, J. (2007) Assessing the quality of action research, Research Papers in Education,
special issue, 22 (2) 29 - 246.
Furlong, J. & Oancea, A. (2005) Assessing Quality in Applied and Practice-Based
Educational Research, Oxford: OUDES.
Harvey, L. & Knight, P.T. (1996) Transforming Higher Education, Buckingham: SRHE
& Open University Press.
Hewitt-Taylor, T. (2002) Insider knowledge: issues in insider research, Nursing
Standard, 16 (46) 33-35.
Hodkinson, P. (2005) 'Insider research' in the study of youth cultures, Journal of Youth
Studies, 8 (2) 131-149.
Jarvis, P. (1999), The Practitioner Researcher: developing theory from practice, SF:
McNamee, M. and Bridges D. (eds) (2002) The Ethics of Educational Research, Oxford:
Morley, L. (2003) Quality and Power in Higher Education, Buckingham: Open
University Press.
Shaw, I. & Norton, M. (2007) The Kinds and Quality of Social Work Research in UK
Universities, Report 17, London: SCIE.
Sikes, P. & Potts, A. (eds) (2008) Researching Education from the Inside: investigating
institutions from within, London: Routledge.
Van Heugten, K. (2004) Managing insider research: learning from experience,
Qualitative Social Work, 3 (2) 203-219.
Zeni, J. (ed.) (2001) Ethical Issues in Practitioner Research, New York: Teachers'
College Record.
Also well worth looking at for chapters by practitioner/researchers and insider research
Burgess, R.G. (ed.) (1988) The Ethics of Educational Research, London: Falmer Press.
Burgess, R. (ed.) (1985) Issues in Educational Research: qualitative methods, London:
Falmer Press.
Burgess, R. (ed.) (1985) Field Methods in the Study of Education, Lewes: Falmer Press.