Taking flight: Trust, ethics, and the comfort of strangers

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This article explores the themes of trust and ethical conduct in social research, with particular attention to the trust that can develop between the members of a research team as well as between researchers and the researched. The authors draw upon a three-year empirical study of destinations and outcomes for young people excluded from alternative educational provision. They also make reference to a contemporary exposition of Aristotle's writing on friendship in order to explore two sets of relevant distinctions that have a bearing upon our understanding of relationships that emerge in the context of social research projects. These distinctions are between impartiality and selectivity on the one hand, and between universality and particularity on the other. The authors attempt to demonstrate that these distinctions influence the development of trust and the conduct of ethical research, arguing that the latter is not synonymous with compliance to ethical guidelines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-44
JournalEthics and Education
Issue number1
Early online date31 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • trust
  • ethical research
  • exclusion from school


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