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Differing to agree: a reply to Hammersley and Abraham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559 - 562
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number5
PublishedSep 2008

King's Authors


In this paper Gewirtz and Cribb offer a response to Hammersley and Abraham's criticisms of their arguments about the place of values in social research published in this issue of BJSE. In doing so, they make clear that most of the positions that Hammersley and Abraham attribute to them are ones that they do not identify with and that, like Hammersley and Abraham, they would reject. In order to further clarify and specify their own position, Gewirtz and Cribb argue that: their advocacy of ethical reflexivity rests on the assumption that there are many incompatible sets of values in play within even a single vantage point; researchers should sometimes take an interest in knowledge use although they should not always be required to do so; and, whilst at the level of propositions it is always possible to abstract out and distinguish between factual claims and value claims, at the level of practice there can be significant resonances and linkages between the two, so it is important to be ethically reflexive about these entanglements. Finally, the authors agree that values should not be seen purely as a source of contamination but that attention to values can help to underpin 'objectivity'.

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