Literacy in Research
This week during the guest presentation on Thursday I wanted to ask a question relating to literacy in research. I was wondering how the professor communicated with participants in her research. I thought her research and findings were extremely interesting. I appreciated how she framed it as giving agency to women and discussed them as being resilient. Additionally, I liked how she discussed their agency and role in relationship/in the framework of macro systems and the involvement of SAPs, the IMF and the WB. But I want to know more about her research methods and process: What kind of language was used, what tone, what formality of words? Did how interviewees were talked to different based on their age or experiences or backgrounds? I wanted to ask, which I didn’t, how participants were told about the research they were part of. Did they know why they were being interviewed, what it was being used for and what story was going to be told about them? In research, what do participants get out of the experience? I thought it was a really interesting presentation not just in the content, but that the skill/ experience/ perspective she brought as a guest speaker was her profession and specific research interest. Being a researcher requires competency and literacy in how to do (in her case) qualitative in-depth interviews. Knowing how to frame questions, how to ask them, how to interpret data, code and analyze date are all part of a literacy in social science research. Yet it is interesting to think about research and literacy in research in terms of power between the researcher and the participants. Are the participants literate in this language as well? What benefits, short term and long term, do interviewees receive from participating. I think this is necessary to question throughout education and in life. As a student in a class you read countless articles written by researchers, as students who write a thesis, you are yourself a researcher. In questioning ethics or perspectives or the ‘danger of a single story’ or ‘deficit’ approaches it is important for us to think about the research we create and our actions during and after.