Valuing the Rural: Using an Ethical Lens to Explore the Impact of Defining, Doing and Disseminating Rural Education Research

Natalie DOWNES, Jillian Marsh, Philip Roberts, Jo-Anne Reid, Melyssa Fuqua, John Guenther

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this chapter we draw on the example of rural education research in Australia to highlight how place-consciousness in research is an ethical concern. In discussing this issue as an ethical concern, we are referencing the broader ethical responsibility around valuing people, places, communities, lived experiences, and the implications for research that foregrounds such a broader stance, rather than the matters normally raised in institutional ‘ethics approval’ processes that seek to safeguard participants from direct harm. To this end, we argue that the consideration or omission of the par-ticularities of rural places have the potential to either benefit or harm people, places, and their communities in lasting ways.
The insights in this chapter were developed from several examples of research pro-jects undertaken by the various authors. These examples include comparisons of works undertaken from both a rural standpoint and metropolitan informed perspec-tives, and the differing outcomes of each approach. The discussion in this chapter is structured around four main topics: what it means to add the term ‘rural’ to research; the way that research methodology can either benefit or harm rural communities; cul-tural considerations in rural education research, with a particular focus on Indigenous Standpoint Theory; and the implications of how we disseminate rural research. Im-portantly, this chapter highlights how approaching research from a rural standpoint, rather than dominant placeless metropolitan approaches, allows us to not only identi-fy the underlying dominant discourses around rural disadvantage, but also why fail-ure to recognise them leads to the production and reproduction of disadvantage for all those marginalised by metro-normative assumptions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRuraling Education Research
Subtitle of host publicationConnections between Rurality and the Disciplines of Educational Research
EditorsPhilip Roberts, Melyssa Fuqua
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789811601316
ISBN (Print)9789811601309
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2021


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