Conducting practice research with migrants and refugees is a complex exercise, involving multiple agendas, diverse actors and varied intercultural relationships. Methodological challenges should not be underestimated, even when the research is conducted by an experienced practice researcher with prior knowledge of the cultural context. Before undertaking cross-cultural research, the practice researcher should consider both backstage and frontstage performativity. Backstage considerations refer to the political and cultural context and implications for trust and reciprocity with migrant and refugee communities. The frontstage performance refers to ethical considerations such as benefice, fidelity and the avoidance of harm by ensuring informed consent, guaranteeing anonymity and privacy, respecting subjects’ rights and applying findings for improved outcomes for clients.
The last consideration is a priority for practice researchers who are genuinely committed to improving the well-being of migrants and the effectiveness of social interventions in achieving improved social justice outcomes. Frontstage performance also involves the selection of methods that are culturally sensitive and safe, negotiating languages and translation and the recruitment of difficult-to-reach participants. Good intentions alone will not guarantee ethical anti-oppressive research.
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Researchers: Heward-Belle, S., Humphreys, C., Healey, L., Tsantefski, M., Isobe, J., Toivonen, C., … & Wilde, T.
Citation: Heward-Belle, S., Humphreys, C., Healey, L., Tsantefski, M., Isobe, J., Toivonen, C., … & Wilde, T. (2020). Practice-led research: Developing communities of practice to drive research and practice change in the domestic and family violence arena. In The Routledge Handbook of Social Work Practice Research (pp. 418-429). Routledge.