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SourceInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
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This paper examines the difficulties of negotiating and gaining access to a secondary school to carry out ethnographic research in Britain. Issues related to external and internal confidentiality arising from the offer of written feedback to the schools are examined. External confidentiality refers to problems connected with the schools’ need to be seen “in best performance” in the new era of competition. Internal confidentiality deals with issues of trust between the researcher and participants. Problems regarding the position of the researcher vis-à-vis internal school politics are identified. The influence of the research project on the participants and their setting is considered, as are the possible benefits and hazards related to the project. How the researcher dealt with ethical issues is also addressed. Oral feedback is offered as an alternative to written feedback because it reduces risks for participants and offers an opportunity to discuss problem issues within the school in a wider setting. © 1994 Taylor & Francis Ltd.