Lastly, there should always be an effort to ensure that participants are not harmed by the study in any way (Bryman, 2012). In this case, the coercive nature of the selection process, and the obvious discomfort of the students being interviewed, suggest that some harm may have been caused. The situation was partly recovered by the interviewer’s acknowledgement of this issue, and ceases to persist on employing this method on interviewing her participants. Instead, she allows some of the students to suggest another way of providing information, for instance; through a guided tour led by students. However, this still requires some members of the group who did not volunteer to take part in this, and whose views were therefore not elicited through this study. It is not known whether those students suffered harm, nevertheless we can maintain that this is a very serious weakness in this study.In summary, this article was an interesting demonstration of how not to conduct qualitative research in schools, and it admits to a quite shocking disregard of fundamental principles in research ethics. On the other hand, the authors are honest about the failings endured in the research, and reflect on their mistakes and state that they have changed and improved on their research practices for future studies. It is ironic however that the original research question was about participant views on their rights in school when there are obvious ethical complications involved in this study. It was appropriate that this was abandoned in favour of a rigorous re-examination of the researchers’ data gathering processes, as this article proves that more training is needed for researchers in the sociology of education, especially in research ethics, and further research into the proper practice of the complexities of school-based primary research is required.
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