Crossing the divide between theory and practice: research and an ethic of care

Elizabeth Ward, B. Gahagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper explores the application of ethic of care principles to reseasrch practice. It reflects on a research partnership between a voluntary sector organisation (VSO) for older people and a university research cetnre (URC). The focus is a participatory research project on older people and well-being in which older volunteers were involved as co-researchers. The shared values of the VSO's culture of practice and the participatory approach of the university researchers have enabled joint research projects to be developed within an ethic of care framework. The model sought to break down the barriers between expert and lay knowledge and encouraged the mutual recognition, sharing and validating of different areas of expertise. An ethic of care framework offers context specific ways of understanding and responding both to the ethical challenges of undertaking participatory research, and to the relational aspects of well-being identified by older people during the course of the work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-216
Number of pages7
JournalEthics and Social Welfare
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2010

Bibliographical note

© 2010 Taylor & Francis


  • Older People
  • participatory research
  • ethic of care
  • person-centered practice
  • well-being


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