Introduction: Researching ‘Down’, ‘Up’, and ‘Alongside’

  • Jacqueline MarxEmail author
  • Gareth J. Treharne


This chapter outlines debate on the ethics of researching “down”, “up”, and “alongside” and the special contribution of each of the chapters in this section of the book to this debate. The first of these three conceptualisations of research relationships arises from critiques of the disjunctures of power that occur when participants are researched down upon and potentially harmed. In contrast, researching up is a conceptualisation of power held by individual participants or institutions that have sway over the research. A steadier balance is sought when researching alongside individuals or institutions as partners. We conclude by giving consideration to the enactment and limitations of reflexivity.


Steady Balance Bantjes fieldField Participatory Action Research Inclusive Research Approach 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Critical Studies in Sexualities and Reproduction, Department of PsychologyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.University of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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