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'Piggy in the middle': The liminality of the contract researcher in funded 'collaborative' research

Tilbury, F. (2007) 'Piggy in the middle': The liminality of the contract researcher in funded 'collaborative' research. Sociological Research Online, 12 (6).


This paper considers the challenges faced by contract researchers employed on interdisciplinary, cross institutional research projects. It argues that current funding requirements and a general fashion for 'collaborative' research have produced growing numbers of contract researchers employed to carry out other people's research. These contract researchers are caught, like a 'piggy in the middle', between disciplinary boundaries, geographic sites, institutional cultures, theoretical incommensurabilities and competing grantholders. Their position is made all the more difficult because such collaborations, in practice, often blur the sense of 'ownership' and therefore responsibility for the research, leaving the contract researcher responsible for operationalising and undertaking the work, but with little acknowledgement of their commitment. The paper includes a number of suggestions for dealing with such difficulties.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Sociological Research Online
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