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Blog post Part of series: BERA Early Career Researcher Network Symposium Series 2022

BERA ECR Network Symposium Series 2022: Framing research: Theories, concepts and reflexivity in educational research – October

Brittany Wright, ESRC-funded doctoral student at University of Nottingham

The BERA Early Career Researcher (ECR) Network Symposium Series offers so much to ECRs. Presenters are given the opportunity to reflect on a key aspect of their research and gain feedback from discussants. Members of the audience get the chance to hear – and benefit from – these reflections and words of wisdom. The 2022 series focused on ‘Framing research: Theories, concepts and reflexivity in educational research’ and our October event surfaced some fascinating discussion of the connections between theory and researcher reflexivity. The atmosphere of the event was both supportive and stimulating. While the presenters all shared a research focus on teachers, diverse approaches to educational research were highlighted.

During the session, Muna Albuloushi gave fascinating insight into her study of TESOL teachers who were studying for their MEd. In her accompanying blog post, Muna shares reflections on her emotional responsibilities as a researcher, considering how the Covid-19 pandemic brought challenges but also gave her real confidence in the importance of her research focus.

During the October event, Lisa Reed, who is also our ECR Regional Representative for Scotland, shared key findings from her research into the ways in which relationships and networks influence the agency and resilience of middle leaders in secondary schools. In her blog post, Lisa shares valuable reflections on the literature she drew on in order to navigate the complexities of reflexivity while conducting her doctoral research.

Janet Ramdeo’s presentation was both thought-provoking and challenging, highlighting the complexities of racialised researcher reflexivity in her research involving Black female teachers. With honesty and warmth, Janet reflected on the tensions and affordances involved in her own identity and the interaction between this and those of her research participants. In her blog post, Janet signposts the value of self-reflexivity, emphasising the importance of asking, ‘Who am I?’ in relation to research.

In the spirit of reflexivity, it is worth considering what these blog posts show about the ECR Network itself. Who are we? What do we do? What are we for? The generosity, openness and thoughtfulness of all our presenters echoes through their writing here, illustrating the key values which underpin our aims of enabling ECRs to engage with peers to develop knowledge and skills, to network and collaborate, and to connect both within BERA and beyond. They highlight that the ECR Network is a supportive community of very different researchers. Crucially, they illustrate how participation in an ECR Network event offers numerous benefits for presenters, discussants and audience members alike.