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Dilemmas in doing insider research in professional education

Humphrey, Caroline


Caroline Humphrey


This article explores the dilemmas I encountered when researching social work education in England as an insider researcher who was simultaneously employed as an educator in the host institution. This was an ethnographic project deploying multiple methods and generating rich case study material which informed the student textbook Becoming a Social Worker the four-year period of the project. First, ethical dilemmas emerged around informed consent and confidentiality when conducting surveys of students and reading their portfolios. Second, professional dilemmas stemmed from the ways in which my roles as a researcher, academic tutor, social worker and former practice educator converged and collided. Third, political dilemmas pertained to the potential for the project to crystallize and convey conflicts among stakeholders in the university and community. Since the majority of research in social work education is conducted by insiders, we have a vital interest in making sense of such complexity.


Humphrey, C. (2013). Dilemmas in doing insider research in professional education. Qualitative Social Work, 12(5), 572-586.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date May 14, 2012
Publication Date Sep 1, 2013
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Publicly Available Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Qualitative social work
Print ISSN 1473-3250
Electronic ISSN 1741-3117
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 5
Pages 572-586
Keywords Social Sciences (miscellaneous); Health(social science)
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Author's accepted manuscript of article published in: Qualitative social work, 2012, v.12, issue 5
Contract Date Nov 13, 2014


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