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To 'snitch' or not to 'snitch': using PAR to explore bullying in a private day and boarding school

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posted on 2023-08-31, 08:18 authored by Niamh O'Brien
This study used a Participatory Action Research (PAR) framework to explore bullying in a private day and boarding school. Six students from the school were recruited and trained in research; we worked together to answer this question: What do young people in this private day and boarding school view as the core issue of bullying in the school and how do they want to address this? This thesis presents three cycles of PAR through inquiry, action and reflection: Cycle one, initiated by myself, investigated the bullying definition at the school and how this was understood by the school community. Online questionnaires and a focus group were used to collect data. Cycle two was initiated by the research team following analysis of cycle one data. The ‘core bullying issue’ was identified as that of the ‘snitch’ and how participants conceptualised ‘serious’ and ‘not serious’ bullying. Paper questionnaires and student-led interviews were used to collect data. Cycle three focussed on the tangible ‘action’ from the project: the development of a draft anti-bullying strategy for the school. This thesis has two separate contributions. Firstly there is a subject contribution about ‘snitching’; students had to navigate a complex web in their decision to ‘snitch’ or not to ‘snitch’. Deciding whether the bullying was ‘serious’ enough to ‘snitch’ impacted on their initial decision. Furthermore students needed to decide if ‘snitching’ was the right thing to do. Secondly there is a methodological contribution; I further developed an existing framework for evaluating the participation of children in research (Dual-axis Model of Participation, Moules and O’Brien, 2012), through adding the dimensions of ‘ideas’ and ‘knowledge’.



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