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Student co-inquirers: The challenges and benefits of inclusive research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Thushari Welikala, Chris Atkin

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-406
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Research and Method in Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

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This article focuses on the process of conducting a research project which explored the university student experience across three different geopolitical contexts using students studying at an English university as co-inquirers. The project sample included students at different stages of their university experience (undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral) studying across a range of disciplines in India, Ireland and England. Qualitative interview data were collected by the student co-inquirers using Skype technology. The student co-inquirers were equal partners in all aspects of data collection and analysis but were not part of the initial theoretical framework and methodological decisions. The student engagement as co-inquirers provided a particular space for the student voice to be heard in making multiple meanings from the data. The shifting identities of the co-inquirers and the impact of taking part in the project on their ability to enact agency with a particular voice within a democratic, participatory research framework is discussed. The authors conclude that participation of students in research as co-inquirers involve both risks and benefits mainly associated with the inherent difficulties with unequal power relationships, managing student agency and understanding multifaceted complexities that arise from shifting identities.

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