Ravn, S. (2020) ‘Participation, positionality and power. Critical moments in research with service-engaged youth’. In: Complexities of researching with young people, eds. Billet, P., Hart, M. and Martin, D. London: Routledge.

This chapter discusses three particular challenges that occurred in qualitative research with young women who have left school before finishing upper secondary school. The three challenges concern participation – on behalf of the potential research participants as well as the researcher. I approach these situations as critical moments, critical for my understanding of and engagement in the research. More specifically, I address challenges related to recruitment, to researcher positionality and to managing relationships in the field. I demonstrate how encounters such as the ones described call for reflection to foster greater insight into the research process – what went well and what went wrong, and why did it go wrong – and ultimately ensure ethical research practices. I argue that these reflections must not be left as such but have to be treated as part of the data and therefore integrated into the data analysis.

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