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Beginning to unpack my research assumptions

September 7th, 2009

This learning conversation outlines some of my thinking in undertaking a small, exploratory research project.  Throughout the process of conducting this research, I was forced to consider deeply the contradictory and ambiguous intersections between different research and knowledge traditions in ways that challenged me to push the boundaries of my own thinking about research, my position as a researcher and what research is supposed to look like and to whom. 

Unpacking some of the often hidden assumptions in my own thinking often felt like invasive surgery.  My attempts to hold onto and most importantly to learn to let go of my own limits of not knowing, was at once disruptive, uncomfortable and unsettling – yet in retrospect strangely made sense.  One of the insights that I remember being particularly surprised to learn of was my natural tendency to want to reconcile many of the tensions that I faced so that they would ‘fit’ within my own social and cultural understanding.  I also often felt torn between maintaining a sense of professional loyalty to the organisation alongside a deep seated cultural obligation to provide research that would be useful to the kura and their whänau community. 

Interrogating the many different spaces I held at any one time beyond reflection and adding to my existing experiences and ideas, encouraged me to reconceptualise not only how to change my own practices and thinking about the work that I do and in the questions that I ask, but also to think about how to collectively engage and negotiate in the discourse of research in more different and meaningful ways.  This is because doing what we’ve always done to get us here won’t get us there, so I invite you on a journey to come to the ‘edge’.

Shifting literacies, Shifting research