Access, entry and researcher-participant position: Challenges and Potentials in Doing Anthropological Fieldwork in VET

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This article reports on methodological experiences obtained in an anthropologically inspired qualitative study among students of carpentry in Denmark. On the one hand the article deals with methodological issues of doing anthropological research among students of carpentry, while on the other it deals with the research findings that such a research design produced. As well as the methodological issues of researcher access, entry and participant position in the field, this article reports on the following questions: What kinds of implicit expectations of the students are embedded in the way the school introduces and initiates the programme? What kinds of effects does this have on the motivation of the students? How do the terms and professional language of the profession work on the individual students in including and excluding ways? These specific descriptions of classroom pedagogy, inspired by the work of Bernstein (1977; 2000b; 2001b), are interpreted in light of the general conditions and structures of the current state of the Danish VET system. The argument in this article is that methodological challenges and difficulties can themselves be viewed as a source of data. It is further argued that incorporating the VET students’ perspectives in the research process can lead to new and relevant insights into the VET system that might otherwise have been overlooked or considered unimportant.
Translated title of the contributionAdgang, indgang og positonen som deltagende forsker: Udfordringer og muligheder ved antropologisk inspireret forskning i erhvervsuddannelserne
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShaping the futures of (vocational) education and work : Commitment of vet and vet research
EditorsGabriele Molzberger, Manfred Wahle
Place of PublicationBern, Switzerland
PublisherPeter Lang
Publication date2015
ISBN (Print)978-3-0343-1617-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-0351-0818-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
SeriesStudies in Vocational and Continuing Education

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