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In and beyond the classroom: research ethics and participatory pedagogies

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In this paper I want to talk about the use of participatory approaches to ‘teaching’, drawing on my own efforts to explore research ethics with undergraduate students. I first critically address what we ‘teach’ regarding ethics in geography, given that ‘codes of ethics’ and ‘good research practice’ are both highly contested entities. Secondly, echoing Valentine's (2005 Progress in Human Geography 29 483–7) belief that students need the skills to ‘navigate their own ethical maps’, I argue that there is a need to interrogate how we may enable such skills. Engaging with debates about ‘border geographies’ and situated knowledges, and emphasising that any ethics ‘teaching’ should incorporate students’ everyday practices and relationships in and beyond the academy, I suggest that a participatory approach to ‘teaching’ encourages students to practically engage with ethics as social relations – while usefully deconstructing perceived boundaries between spaces of learning and spaces of research.

Keywords: participatory approaches; pedagogy; research ethics; students; university

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Division of Geography, Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 8ST, Email:

Publication date: 2008-12-01

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