Researching marginalised groups: some difficult questions

Really important piece about research involving people who already have difficult situations and is just as relevant to research on issues of immigration (and EVERYTHING that falls under that mess of a category).

genders, bodies, politics

Every year, students on the MA in Gender Studies ask questions about doing research with marginalised groups. The university is an incredibly privileged environment, but many of our students are politically committed and care passionately about issues of inequality. Often, they want to contribute to causes by conducting their dissertation research on related topics. However, there are questions around whether exploring these through research with human subjects is appropriate – too often students end up asking for time and attention from people who already live difficult lives, and producing projects which (due to time constraints and a lack of background knowledge) make little difference. I therefore advise students to ask themselves a number of questions while selecting their research topics:

  1. Who is this research for? Is there a demonstrable need?

The best way to approach this question is to design research in collaboration with community groups – some charities and…

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