chapter  3
Theory as the source of ‘research footprint’ in rural settings
Pages 17

This chapter explores the ethical terrain researchers cross in rural communities. In the author's own rural experience, the ethical priorities voiced by research participants differ from those on research applications that privilege preserving anonymity, protecting confidentiality and safeguarding participant's privacy. Teachers were concerned about the identifications students would make to the memories of others, particularly to painful childhood experiences participants might recount. In thinking about ethical risks and possible benefits of research within rural communities, it is useful to consider its parallels with place-conscious education in rural schools. For researchers attending to rural places, the questions we ask take on the distinctive hues of identities, histories and cultures that intersect, both harmoniously and divisively, within a small community. These are places where, in some capacity, everyone knows everyone else. Anonymity is impossible, or nearly so. In rural places researcher's questions risk upsetting a delicate balancing act between community members or groups.