Productive tensions in interdisciplinary and mixed-methods research on youths' livelihoods

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This chapter examines the challenges and possibilities involved in conducting interdisciplinary and mixed-methods research based on a six-year longitudinal study of youths' livelihoods in East Africa. The project involved researchers trained in and drawing on a variety of disciplines and research paradigms. Interdisciplinary projects can produce productive tensions as the participants grapple with their different approaches, measures, and meanings. This chapter discusses points of tension faced by the team engaged in researching youths' complex lives. These tensions pushed the researchers to work to understand each other-to take into account their own subject positions as researchers-across different disciplines and paradigms; if they had not done so, the research process would not have been so productive. The particular tensions discussed include: measuring and describing youths' livelihoods; and conducting and interpreting interviews about youths' lives. These tensions are particularly salient to research conducted in cross-cultural projects, where researchers are challenged to consider how they know what they know about youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChildren and Youth as Subjects, Objects, Agents
Subtitle of host publicationInnovative Approaches to Research Across Space and Time
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783030636326
ISBN (Print)9783030636319
StatePublished - Apr 15 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021.


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