Qualitative Researcher, 11 pp 4-6

Researching marginalised communities is often thwarted by a number of ethical and moral problems. As social scientists, we are driven by the need to develop a greater understanding of how different actors make sense of their social world (Coffey and Atkinson 1996). Yet, representing data on marginalised communities can have many implications; potentially, we can further disempower those very communities we seek to empower. This paper addresses this issue, drawing on data collected as part of a PhD. project; it will discuss my role as a researcher in representing data that conflicts with the values of my social world and those professed by the wider society, the dilemmas this may cause, and how I attempted to overcome them. The paper will begin by outlining the problems I encountered researching the Gypsy and Traveller community1 in England and Wales.