Ethics Research Day: Methodological Innovations and Ethics

16 March 2016, 10.00 AM - 16 March 2016, 3.30 PM

Dr Jacqui Shepherd (University of Sussex), Dr Jocelyn Wishart, Dr Helen Manchester, Dr Sheila Trahar, Hyang Eun Kwon 'Aroma', Helen Knowler and Wan Ching Yee

Room 4.10, 35 Berkeley Square, BS8 1JA

The focus of this seminar is on the range of methodological innovations developing in the field of Educational Research. While this exciting and interesting development of methods offer important opportunities for new insights, they also generate a range of ethical dilemmas arising from their uses when conducting research.  In the seminar we will discuss innovations in online and offline research and offers insights from experienced researchers in these fields.

 Registration closes 9 March 2016. *We have now reached capacity and are operating a waitlist*

Eventbrite - Ethics Research Day


Time Title Speaker
10:00 to 10:05 Welcome Wan Ching Yee, GSoE Chair of GSOE Ethics Committee
10:05 to 10:55 Tangible Memories: narratives of ethical dilemmas in co-designing interdisciplinary research with older people Helen Manchester
10:55 to 11:45 Interviews are not the only fruit: accessing the voice of young people with autism Jacqui Shepherd (University of Sussex)
11:45 to 12:00 Coffee/Tea (provided)   
12:00 to 12:50  Advancing Ethics Frameworks and Scenario Development to Support e-Research in Educational Contexts Jocelyn Wishart
12:50 to 13:30

Lunch (provided)

13:30 to 14:20 Quilting a jo-gag-bo: conversing about ethical complexities of using narrative inquiry in South Korea Sheila Trahar and Hyang Eun Kwon 'Aroma'
14:20 to 15:20 Workshops/Case Studies Wan Ching Yee & Helen Knowler
15:20 to 15:30 Closing  

Abstracts and Biographies

Dr Helen Manchester, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol

Tangible Memories: narratives of ethical dilemmas in co-designing interdisciplinary research with older people

This presentation draws on ethical dilemmas encountered during a research project called ‘Tangible Memories: Community in Care’. The project involved an interdisciplinary team working with 3 care homes, Alive! (a charity dedicated to improving the quality of life for older people in care by enabling their participation in meaningful activity) and artists Stand + Stare and Heidi Hinder to co-design technologies and a variety of methods to enable storytelling and enhance community within care settings. We found that harnessing the power of innovative technologies and evocative objects in care settings can impact directly on relationships of care, on intra-generational relationships between residents themselves and on intergenerational relationships between residents and their families and friends.

This presentation uses narrative accounts of ethical dilemmas encountered during the research process to explore the challenges of (a) working in interdisciplinary teams, (b) working with older people with dementia and (c) co-designing research with care staff, families and residents.

Biography: Helen is a lecturer in Educational and Social Futures at the University of Bristol. She specialises in conducting participatory, co-produced research with community and voluntary organisations and cultural institutions. She is interested in learning futures, urban/civic learning and digital cultures.

Helen has led a variety of research projects including 2 AHRC funded research projects. 'Teenage Kicks' which explored young people's take on cultural value as part of the AHRC Cultural Value programme and Tangible memories: Community in Care funded by the AHRC Digital Transformations and Connected Communities Capital fund. She is currently working on a variety of projects around the theme of urban/civic learning and smart technologies, including the REPLICATE project, funded by Horizon 2020.


Dr Jacqui Shepherd, University of Sussex

Interviews are not the only fruit: accessing the voice of young people with autism

This presentation reflects on a longitudinal research project that set out to understand the experience of transition from the point of view of young people with autism and learning difficulties as they left special school and started at mainstream college. Although parents and professionals were interviewed, the students were at the centre of the research and it became clear that traditional interview methods might not necessarily engage, enthuse or interest the participants. One of the challenges in working with young people with autism as participants was about how to adapt the interview process to take account of potential communication difficulties and how to design an interview method which would support the respondents in a scaffolded way without influencing their responses too much or restricting their contributions.   With this in mind, I set out to develop ‘interrupted’ interviews that involved both the use of collage and card sort apps on an ipad, and walking interviews around the college environment. This presentation will reflect on the ethical challenges of both using these methods but also presenting the resultant data in a respectful way.

Biography: Jacqui contributes to teaching and research on inclusive education, special educational needs and disability and research methods at the University of Sussex. She has been a Teaching Fellow there since 2001 initially running the PGCE in English for secondary trainee teachers and more recently convening the BA in Childhood and Youth as well as contributing to MA programmes.  She runs a specialist option within the initial teacher education courses where trainees spend six weeks in a special school setting and receive additional training. She has recently completed a PhD in Education funded by the ESRC that investigated the transitions of young people with autism leaving special school and going on to colleges of further education.  


Dr Jocelyn Wishart, Senior Lecturer, University of Bristol

Advancing Ethics Frameworks and Scenario Development to Support 'e-Research in Educational Contexts’

In this presentation I introduce the range of ethical issues seen when investigating learning via and around digital tools such as social media and mobile devices and show how researchers in the International Association of Mobile Learning have developed an ethics framework to assist educational researchers to better understand the ethical complexities of research using mobile devices and social media. Such frameworks can then be used in professional development seminars or workshops to generate scenarios, or simulated case studies, as a means of articulating issues from real-world experiences and exploring ways forward. They are often used in teaching ethical issues as this approach supports contextualisation of issues, exploration of multiple perspectives, reflection, and opportunities to develop collaborative solutions (Herrington, Oliver &and Reeves, 2003). 

Biography: Dr Wishart is a Senior Lecturer in Science Education at the University of Bristol and Membership Secretary of the International Association of Mobile Learning. She became involved in mobile learning through her interest in using handheld devices to support teacher trainees on placement in schools. However, in the current school culture in England, where there is debate over using mobile phones in school, trainees tended not to feel comfortable about using a handheld device in a classroom context. This led Dr Wishart to research further into social and ethical issues associated with using personal devices like mobile phones to support learning and to develop support for new researchers and teachers in addressing the new ethical concerns. Last year, with Michael Thomas of Lancaster University, she edited a Special Issue of the International Journal of Research and Methods in Education on ‘E-Research in Educational Contexts’.


Dr Sheila Trahar, Reader, and Hyang Eun Kwon (Aroma), PhD Student, University of Bristol

Quilting a jo-gag-bo: conversing about ethical complexities of using narrative inquiry in South Korea

How appropriate is it to use an unstructured, ‘narrative’ style of interviewing in research and to share personal memories triggered by the interaction in a context within which relationships are hierarchical and competitive?  Might such behaviour lead to the researcher being ridiculed or even shunned by her participants?  More generally, and importantly, how ethical is it for a doctoral supervisor to support and encourage a researcher to use a methodological approach – narrative inquiry – together with a range of research methods/methods of re-presenting ‘data’ that are unknown in her/his context?

These are some of the ethical questions that were raised for me (Sheila) in working with Aroma on her doctoral research and that we explored together through our supervisory relationship.  The conversation that we propose to have will touch on these – and other – ethical complexities that we consider to be inherent in using narrative inquiry in a context that is mediated by values, beliefs, philosophies that differ from those that dominate in the contexts in which narrative has emerged and is more well known.


Hyang Eun Kwon (Aroma) completed her PhD recently in the Graduate School of Education. Her professional background is in early childhood education and counselling in education. She has worked as a kindergarten teacher, counsellor and lecturer. Her research focuses on Korean mothers and is titled “Education Fever in South Korea: A Narrative Inquiry into Mothers’ Perceptions and Experiences of Their Children’s Education”. She explores the thoughts, anxieties, values and desires that Korean mothers have in terms of their children’s education. Her methodological approach was narrative inquiry and she used various research methods such as narrative interviewing, reflecting teams, making artefacts, journals, field notes and reflexive notes.

Sheila Trahar is Reader in International Higher Education in the Graduate School of Education.  She has published widely in the area of international higher education and her research and teaching reflects her commitment to inclusivity in that context.  Her work is innovative in the field for its use of   narrative inquiry and autoethnography as methodological approaches.   Sheila teaches on the EdD in Bristol and Hong Kong, the MSc in Educational Research in Bristol and has taught on the MSc (MEd) programme in Hong Kong for several years, leading the programme there from 2008 - 2015. 

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