The vulnerable insider : navigating power, positionality and being in educational technology research
CITATION: Tshuma, N. 2021. The vulnerable insider : navigating power, positionality and being in educational technology research. Learning, Media and Technology. Learning, Media and Technology, 46(2):218-229, doi:10.1080/17439884.2021.1867572.
The original publication is available at https://www.tandfonline.com
This article reflects on the tensions I encountered as an insider researcher during a qualitative study exploring academics’ integration of educational technology in a South African higher education institution. While critical qualitative approaches acknowledge research participants’ vulnerability to the researcher’s interpretation and presentation of their experiences, this article reflects on researcher vulnerability engendered by my insider status. Through a critical ethnographic lens, I reflexively interrogate the shifting nuances of power, positionality and being in educational technology research with regard to: (1) the struggle to adopt a colonialist methodology in a context still reeling from colonial legacies; (2) sensitively negotiating conflicting role requirements as a researcher, an employee and a PhD student in the same institution; (3) reflecting on the ‘politics of the gaze’ and how my insider status influenced what data I collected and how I perceived it; and (4) grappling with the tensions inherent in attempting to represent the experiences of the Other through my own.