The pressures of building reciprocal relationships in an intergenerational research team
This chapter explores the pressures of building and maintaining reciprocal relationships in an intergenerational research team investigating the sensitive topic of child protection in the UK. The study, funded by the Children’s Commissioner Office in England, was prompted by the Munro Review, which identified a concern to improve access to protection and support for children and young people at risk of harm in the UK. The chapter is focused on the research team’s interpersonal relationships and biographies for planning and delivering a sensitive research topic. All the young researchers were aged 16-24 with experience or knowledge of the UK child protection system, which helped and hindered the research process. Thinking critically about the concept of ‘reciprocal relationships’ in doing research, we need a concept of reciprocity that does not start from the deficit model but at the same time does not ignore the difficulties of involving young people with complex backgrounds working as part of the research team. This chapter concludes that such a concept and/or approach must also provide guidance for building a research practice that can take us beyond the dilemma posed by institutions, funding bodies and ethics committees to arrive at a policy and practice nexus which balances the value and volatility of intergenerational teams at the centre of what we do.