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Challenging Adult Perspectives on Children's Geographies through Participatory Research Methods: Insights from a Service-Learning Course

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In this paper, the author adopts the notion that working with children in some ways highlights the challenges of university-level pedagogy and research ethics; this is done by evaluating a service-learning course she conducted with undergraduate and graduate students that was based on children's urban geographies. In the course of this examination, she considers ways that aiming towards child-led, participatory approaches created several practical and ethical dilemmas but also stimulated critical reflection on positionality in research and teaching. A set of suggestions is offered for working with children in participatory qualitative research projects that emerged from insights gained in this endeavor, and the author also confronts a set of six attitudes she and her students had to engage with in order to move toward a less essentializing and more critically rigorous participatory research practice.

Keywords: Children's geographies; participatory research methods; service learning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Geography, University of Vermont, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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