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Valuing the Rural: Using an Ethical Lens to Explore the Impact of Defining, Doing and Disseminating Rural Education Research

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Ruraling Education Research

Abstract

In this chapter, we draw on the example of rural education research in Australia to highlight how place-consciousness in research is an ethical concern. In discussing this issue as an ethical concern, we are referencing the broader ethical responsibility around valuing people, places, communities, lived experiences, and the implications for research that foregrounds such a broader stance, rather than the matters normally raised in institutional ‘ethics approval’ processes that seek to safeguard participants from direct harm. To this end, we argue that the consideration or omission of the particularities of rural places has the potential to either benefit or harm people, places, and their communities in lasting ways. The insights in this chapter were developed from several examples of research projects undertaken by the various authors. These examples include comparisons of works undertaken from both a rural standpoint and metropolitan informed perspectives, and the differing outcomes of each approach. The discussion in this chapter is structured around four main topics: what it means to add the term ‘rural’ to research; the way that research methodology can either benefit or harm rural communities; cultural considerations in rural education research, with a particular focus on Indigenous Standpoint theory; and the implications of how we disseminate rural research. Importantly, this chapter highlights how approaching research from a rural standpoint, rather than dominant placeless metropolitan approaches, allows us to not only identify the underlying dominant discourses around rural disadvantage, but also why failure to recognise them leads to the production and reproduction of disadvantage for all those marginalised by metro-normative assumptions.

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Downes, N., Marsh, J., Roberts, P., Reid, JA., Fuqua, M., Guenther, J. (2021). Valuing the Rural: Using an Ethical Lens to Explore the Impact of Defining, Doing and Disseminating Rural Education Research. In: Roberts, P., Fuqua, M. (eds) Ruraling Education Research. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-0131-6_18

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