Question 1 First article
In any social setting, it is important for involved parties to trust each other. Trust enables the participants to feel safe around each other. Also, the feeling of trust makes both parties feel like they are doing the correct thing (Cassell and Symon 2004, p.315). The parties feel like they can hold each other accountable to the promise of integrity they have for one another. Therefore, they will be able to open up and engage in a truthful and meaningful conversation (Bryman and Bell 2015, p.490). The notion also applies in a researcher and researched relationship as Russell knew that in order for her research to be successful, she had to build a trusting relationship with the student. She believed that for the research party to open up and be completely free with the researcher, a relationship had to be built (Cassell and Symon 2004, p.320). To foster trust, she made a promise not to tell the teachers anything that the students shared. Consequently, the students dropped their guard around her and could be open with her.
Russell’s aim to build a trusting relationship with the students influenced the methods of data collection she employed. She went for ways that would enable her to be close to students and in the end be able to understand and complete her study. For instance, she used observation method where she would shadow the students and engage in the activities that they did. For example, she would eat lunch with them, go to classes with them, both their favorite and the most disliked ones, and also engage in games with them (Russell 2005, 186). Observation enabled her to observe her research subjects in their natural surrounding hence collect data first-hand (Silverman 2013, p.122). In engaging in the mutual activities with the students, a relationship between them started to develop. As per the students’ reference to her, first, as a leech or visitor to some calling her by her name or by unhostile names such as a teacher, it was evident that they had begun to trust her. After building trust, Russell started interviewing the students and engaging in two-sided conversations with them. The personal conversations aided her to capture all the verbal and nonverbal responses from the students.
Her goal to build trust with the researched further influenced the sequence that she used in her research methods. She employed the key techniques of establishing trust with the students. She opted for observation first to enable her to create a friendly environment for the study group (McDonald 2005, p.461). While observing, she avoided the use of Dictaphone to avoid creating a hostile reaction from the students. She engaged in activities with them making them feel like she was part of them and not another authoritative person. She then proceeded to interview where she engaged in conversations that she knew would trigger response and trust from the students. For example, she would talk about her boyfriend with the girls, a topic that is a sure way of getting girls to talk (Learmonth 2011, p.1889). Moreover, when caught in tough situations such as when she was asked to be on the lookout, she obliged in order not to break the already developed trust.
Question 2 First Article
While conducting a research, principles of research ethics demand that a researcher strive to do good and to minimize harm to the researched (Easterby-Smith, Thorpe, and Jackson 2015, p.121). Russell encountered a number of challenges in carrying out her study in accordance with the principles of research. For instance, it was becoming an issue in creating boundaries between her and the students. Being a novice ethnographer, she lacked the experience needed to be able to handle her relationships better. Owing to the boundaries trial, she ran the risk of causing social harm to her study groups especially the male student (Easterby-Smith et al. 2015, p.123). There were instances where some boys were being ridiculed by fellow students when suspected to had a crush on her. Consequently, the outward ridicule would affect the student’s emotional and psychological well-being (Silverman 2013, p.160). Furthermore, Russell admits to not having talked with all teachers during the beginning of her research that led to her having a shaky relationship with all teachers (Russell 2005, p. 188). By doing so she did not have all their full consent to carry out her research in the manner that she wanted. Additionally, the teachers were intimidated by her age, since she was younger than all of them and often wondered what her role in the school was (Korczynski 2011, p.1430). Some of the teachers thought she was there to mediate with the wild students and were disappointed when they found out that was not the case.
Russell struggled in keeping a balance between her relationship with students and her trust with the teachers. She had difficulties taking sides in many instances not wanting to jeopardize her research. Owing to the unbalanced relationships, she had to participate in deceptive instances where students would use her as an escape goat in their illegal activities (Learmonth 2011, p.1891). For instance, she witnessed a student destroying a school property but due to her promise to students not to tell-tale, she had to say nothing. Moreover, to avoid deceptive situations she chose to show the students what she had written about them, hence running the risk of getting biased information (McDonald 2005, p.469). She also saw some students using drugs on school premises but did not report it. She was further disadvantaged with the fact that she did not know what to do in such situations, whether to tell on the students or keep quiet and maintain a trusting relationship with the students.
Russell tried to minimize the harm she caused during her research. For instance, she developed a boundary with the students and told them that she would not tell on them only if they did not use her as an excuse to do wrong. Also, she used pseudonyms in her paper to protect the identity of the researched (Wallace and Sheldon 2015, p.269). However, the measures she took were not adequate as she was obligated to do more to protect the researcher. For instance, she should have briefed the teachers on her role and make them understand prior to commencing the research (Wallace and Sheldon 2015, p.274). She should also have intervened in extreme cases, such as when students were fighting to help them stop the violence without necessarily telling on them.
Question 1 Second Article
When conducting a research, researchers encounter various challenges one of them being denied research access. Such is the case of Kamenou as only 2 organizations granted her research access out of the 20 she had requested (Kamenou 2008, p.102). There are a number of reasons that cause the occurrence of such situations, for instance, the method of data collection, interview. Although interviewing is an effective data collection method, it presents certain disadvantages (Thorpe and Holt 2008, p. 117). For example, some of the organizations that declined may have felt that the process would have wasted a lot of their time. The face to face process consumes a considerable amount of time which the organizations may not have had at their disposal. Additionally, some may have been shy and opposed to talking to the researcher’s face to face. They might have lacked the needed confidence to open up about the issue of women in minority ethnic groups.
Another reason may have been that feelings and beliefs of the organizations that declined Kamenou research access were not in line with the research. For example, some might have believed that taking part in the research would not help their situation, on the contrary, they might have believed that it would only aggravate things talking about the issue. Additionally, the organizations might have feared that engaging in the study would further lead to investigations into their enterprises especially if they had something to hide. Such a case might have occurred if the researched did not believe that the researcher would be confidential with any information they discovered. Also, the decline might have occurred because the organizations have personal hostile feeling towards the researcher. The organizations might have also believed in the traditional roles of women in the society. That is, where women should be more obligated to fulfilling their family duties than empower themselves in their careers. Therefore, they might have viewed the research as a conspiracy to interfere and change those roles.
Question 2 Second Article
Kamenou opted for an in-depth interview as a method of data collection over focus groups may be because of the various advantages interviews have over focus groups (Kamenou 2008, p.102). For instance, face-to-face interaction with one person allows the interviewer to study the interviewee and be able to tell when they are lying hence reducing the risk of biased data. Similarly, unlike in focus groups, an opinion from one researched will not affect the response from another person consequently eliminating the collection of influenced data (Rosenthal 2016, p.511). Moreover, it is easier to foster trust with the researched during the in-depth conversation which is vital for the success of a research (Bryman and Bell 2015, p.473). In-depth interview further presents the advantage of longer speaking hours as the researchers look for the interviewee at a time convenient to both of them. Consequently, Kamenou would be able to get more insights into the research topic that would help her in the qualitative stage of the research.
Another advantage of interviews is that is easier to conduct the research with all researched parties at each of their convenient time (Alshenqeeti 2014, p.39). Contrary to the focus group where the time schedule may not be favorable to everyone, therefore, inconveniencing and causing harm to the interviewee. Moreover, in-depth interviews are more flexible since they can be carried out from different locations as they can also be conducted over the phone (Thorpe and Holt 2008, 117). Similarly, the interview can be conducted over other channels electronically, such as through Skype, and can also be recorded (Harris et al., 2008, p.238). Additionally, the research topic was a sensitive and personal one as every individual person had different views on it (Rosenthal 2016, p.513). For instance, the men and women might have had different opinions about career women (Finlay 2002, p.542). Also, the white and black people might view the issue of ethnic minority women from opposing perspectives. Therefore, it requires the researcher to speak to every person individually to eliminate the risk of them crashing and fighting as in the case of focus groups.
Kamenou might have also opted for in-depth interviews because they were cost-effective compared to focus groups (Alshenqeeti 2014, p.39). Also, he might have needed specific feedback from specific people hence would have been inappropriate to put them together. For instance, it would have been unreasonable to ask a white lady how she feels working as a woman from a minority ethnic group. Similarly, Kamenou would have gotten the wrong data if she had asked men the responsibilities women do and how they balance all of their duties (Finlay 2002, p.533). On the other hand, such a question would have acquired the effective response from a woman as she knows about it better. Interviews further reduce the risk of serious fallbacks (Harris et al., 2008, p.241). For instance, organizing a focus group only for all of the participants to cancel. If it was with one person, such a situation would have been easier to recover than with 10 to 20 people. Additionally, a focus group might have resulted in wrong people getting invited.
Total word count: 1900 words.
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