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    Community projects and excluded young people: reflections on a participatory narrative research approach

    Goodley, Dan A. and Clough, Peter (2004) Community projects and excluded young people: reflections on a participatory narrative research approach. International journal of inclusive education, 8 (4). pp. 331-351. ISSN 1360-3116

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    Much has been written about the epistemological, theoretical and methodological bases of inclusive research, but how does it look in practice? This paper critically documents a participatory narrative approach to research with young people that, it is argued and demonstrated, foregrounds their agendas as critical researchers. The paper draws upon a research project that explored the meaning of community projects to young people excluded from school-based educational provision in Sheffield, UK. The remit was to capture their critical views on these projects and to flag up good practice with them as co-researchers. This paper reflects on the research approach and the findings that, as a team, were elicited. 'It's time for a fresh start' was a phrase much heard in the research. When projects worked well, they appeared to draw heavily upon a philosophy of giving young people new contexts and experiences to better themselves in ways that might not have been met in schools; they remained in projects when they felt respected by workers and when the projects gave them new and relevant experiences that they could take with them as they entered early adulthood. Similarly, young people illuminated the potency of research to elicit meaning and meaningmaking practices. By focusing on narrative, a storied approach to research provided opportunities for participation, included a whole host of perspectives and critically engaged with emergent policy, practice and theory issues.

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