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A tale of the unexpected: Managing an insider dilemma by adopting the role of outsider in another setting

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Qualitative Research
Issue number4
Volume14
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)428-441
Publication statusPublished
Early online date5/04/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This article explores a dilemma encountered by the author when collecting data from a child protection local authority while working for the same agency as a social worker. Favoured by ethnographers for being able to capture something that is uniquely different, the method of ethnography was chosen in this study to use the author's insider positioning to access material that may prove to be rich and original in content. Despite feeling prepared for the challenges that lay ahead, the unexpected hidden dilemma that did emerge encouraged the author, as a result, to closely examine certain perplexities that then followed. These would not only affect established relationships with colleagues within the field but also impact her own professional identity by forcing her to question certain values and loyalties expected from the agency for which she worked. However, by adopting a dual role and taking up the position of outsider in another similar setting, it was found that enough distance and space were created to encourage the author to employ reflexivity and overcome the difficulties experienced as a 'native' at home. © The Author(s) 2013.