Understanding, embracing and reflecting upon the messiness of doctoral fieldwork

Arif Naveed, Nozomi Sakata, Anthoulla Kefallinou, Sara Young, Kusha Anand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (SciVal)


This Forum issue discusses the centrality of the fieldwork in doctoral research. The inevitability of researchers’ influence and of their values apparent during and after their fieldwork calls for a high degree of reflexivity. Since the standard methodology textbooks do not sufficiently guide on addressing such challenges, doctoral researchers go through stressful phases, at times revising various decisions they made before starting fieldwork. By drawing upon four case studies from varied contexts, this forum highlights some of these challenges including: going beyond signing the consent form and building rapport to elicit student voices; the ethical implications of White privilege of researchers turning consent into an obligatory contract with participants; unanticipated delays in the fieldwork opening up new possibilities; and tensions resulting from negotiating between insider and outsider identities while researching in two hostile contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)773-792
Number of pages20
JournalCompare : A Journal of Comparative and International Education
Issue number5
Early online date17 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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