The getting of access: the trials and tribulations of the novice researcher
Western Australian Institute for Educational Research Inc.
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education/ Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications
In many fields and in education in particular, researchers, such as teachers, are inclined to believe that because they are enmeshed in the field or have good relationships with students, issues of politics, power and status will exert minimal influence and that access to the field will be smooth and unproblematic. In this paper, three doctoral students with varying degrees of insider status, working in the Australian context, reflect on the rocky journeys they experienced obtaining and maintaining access to field sites. The authors argue that despite a body of literature addressing this issue, many of the commonly used texts devoted to educational research do not adequately tackle the subject. The novice researcher often remains unsuspecting and under prepared for the range and depth of difficulties encountered in the process of gaining access. The question is posed, what might be the role of the academy in preparing researchers?