Doing Educational Research in Rural Settings
Methodological Issues, International Perspectives and Practical Solutions
To Be Published November 15th 2013 by Routledge – 240 pages
Methodological Issues for Educational Research in Rural Settings is a much-needed guidefor educational researchers, and in particular graduate students, whose research interests are located outside metropolitan areas in places that are generically considered to be rural. This book is both timely and important as no other text currently takes up the key question of how to conduct educational research within and for rural communities or seeks from an inquiring stance to explore the impact of educational research in rural contexts in terms of the lasting ‘good’ of research to those being researched about.
The authorship is international bringing together researchers experienced in conducting educational inquiry in rural places from across European, Australian, American, and Canadian contexts discussing national and regional challenges and ways of working into conversation. It also draws from the research experiences of the most senior ‘elders’ in the field of rural educational research as well as those in their early career as they share their research methodological issues such as unpacking their own subjectivities; considering ethics of confidentiality/pseudonymity in places where often everyone is well known and identifiable; thinking about reciprocity and converging interests; and notions of representation.
This book is uniquely written with an eye to practicality and applicability for a higher degree and doctoral research market and offers a compelling international comparative perspective addressing a key criticism that rural education research tends to be too locally-focused, nostalgic or insufficiently attuned to the effects of globalization.
Section 1: Introduction(Michael Corbett and Simone White)
The introductory chapter will present a short history of rural education research in a variety of national contexts. We will do this by sketching theoretically the idea of the rural as it relates to educational governance, curriculum and research. In this chapter we will outline the kinds of research questions and methodological challenges that have been important for scholars working currently in rural contexts. We will also take up the impact of educational globalization and the problematization of cultural difference in all forms of social research. The tension between place-based lifeways and increasingly distant forms of educational governance and discourse will form the core of our discussion. This chapter will also pose key methodological questions aimed at equipping master and doctoral students to consider as they plan or prepare their research studies. These questions will continue to be framed and posed over the three main sections. The introduction will also map out the plan for the book.
Section 1: Tales of the field: Working with/in the rural
This section will present an assembly of research narratives written by experienced rural educational researchers that explore the challenges they have faced working in rural communities. Specifically these authors will take up the fundamental question concerning the difference rurality makes in educational research. What in particular makes educational research in the rural different from research in any other social or geographic location. This section will also take up the historical development of research ethics and attention to reflexivity and standpoint taken up in the other sections of the book.
Section 2: Reflexivity and standpoint
In this section of the text we will present a series of chapters that deal with the problem of the position of educational researchers and educational research in rural contexts. The concept of research position will be central to this discussion and the chapters will problematize the relationship between the social/cultural location of researchers and those amongst whom they work. The sections in this chapter will be written mainly by relatively early career scholars as they discuss their own research subjectivities and provide illustrative examples from their studies to consider.
Section 3: Ethics and reciprocity
In this section chapters will deal with emerging questions around the ethics of social research in the current moment. Each of these chapters takes the question of the relationship between the researcher and the researched opened up in previous sections into a systematic analysis of appropriate, supportive and productive ways of working together with research subjects (or co-researchers). A key point of analysis in these chapters will be the intersection between issues and problems defined by academics and those defined by rural citizens. The usefulness of research, questions or reciprocity, poly-vocality and reciprocity will feature powerfully in these chapters.
Kim Donehower (North Dakota State -USA)
Linda Farr-Darling (UBC, Canada)
Pauliina Rautio and Maija Laanas (University of Oulu, Finland)
Sue Kilpatrick (University of Tasmania, Australia)
Conclusion (Simone White and Michael Corbett)
The concluding chapter will seek to summarise the main points from the three sections and offer a broad international comparative perspective. This chapter will provide a snapshot of various research approaches that support possibilities and collective wisdom on researching in rural contexts. This chapter will also address the master and doctoral students specifically by returning to posing research questions revealing their own subjectivities and intentions of researching ‘rurality’.