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Virtuous Educational Research

Conversations on Ethical Practice


Julian Stern

This is a book of conversations with researchers working across Europe, the USA and Africa. It aims to illuminate the lived reality of educational research on a wide variety of topics, including family life in rural South Africa, support for self-harming students in the UK, character development in the USA and Korea, educational leadership in the UK and China, philosophical analysis of education policy, and much more.
The book is for and about researchers and is built around a set of conversations with the author – a fellow researcher. Researchers work at the frontiers of our knowledge and understanding of the world, and frontiers can be dangerous places. How are the researchers’ personal qualities – virtues such as courage, honesty and kindness – tested and exemplified in their work? The conversations presented here explore the experience of research and ask what qualities are needed, or wished for, in order to successfully face its challenges. There are many books that include lists of what to do and what not to do when carrying out research. Here, in contrast, we find out what really happens and why – and what it takes to keep going.
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Chapter 7 Taking Time: Prudence and Pacing


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Taking Time: Prudence and Pacing


We live our lives in time. As the poet Larkin says, ‘Where can we live but days?’ (Larkin 1988, p. 67). My relationship with myself is spread out in time – I reflect on myself in the past and think of how I will be in the future. The thoughtful, reflective, aspects of research therefore seem to be of immense personal value. This may be an almost therapeutic value, and it may be of value in our lives and the lives of other people, as described in Chapters 5 and 6 (and throughout this book). It is the sense of time and timing that is the theme brought out in the following two conversations (as also in Chapter 10). Mention research to any group of academics, and the most common response will be ‘we don’t have enough time for it’ (Stern 2014b, pp. 12–13). But it is not that kind of time that is being discussed here. Instead, it is finding the right time to research, the right time to think, the right time to address problems or move on – whether these timings are short-term (when to talk, when to be quiet in a conversation) or longer-term (when should traumas in previous generations be addressed in this generation). ← 113 | 114 →

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