Home > Shifting literacies, Shifting research > Beginning to unpack my research assumptions

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

  1. georgina
    | #1

    Tēnā rawa atu koe e Renee,
    mōu tēnei kōrero i whakapuaki. Tērā tētahi wāhi mō ngāi tāua ki roto i ēnei momo kōrero hangarau tino hou tonu. He wāhi anō kia tū whakahihi tō tātou reo, koia rā!
    I am reminded of the challenge laid down by Cherryl Smith to Māori academics that we are to ‘more strongly bring forward’ our Māori traditions, our understandings of the world, and our perspectives on the research problematics we are investigating into our work. You have recognised, articulated and responded to this challenge in your posting. As I have grown in confidence as a Kaupapa Māori researcher I have found this idea becoming more, rather than less, productive, allowing me to navigate the treacherous currents of academia, cut through to the heart of the issues, and above all, stay true to myself and have some fun with it! He mihi tautoko ki a koe.

  2. georgina
    | #2

    @Nancy Stuewe
    Kia ora Nancy
    Your comment here prompted me to read your latest blog posting on teaching technology on your own website.
    Seems to me the foundational text for the position you are exploring re. technology and the role it plays in our teaching and wider lives is M. Heidegger, “The Question Concerning Technology”. You have to be prepared to read past the knotty language (no doubt caused in part by the fact that I can’t read the original German!) but baqsically he traces the essence of technology to an attitude of ‘enframing’ nature so that it is available to us when we want, at our command. I think your comments relate quite well to that analysis.

  3. | #3

    Interesting. I find that educational technology has such a tradition gifted from the scientific method. The scientific tradition because it likes to put things in little piles is not really all that helpful when dealing with the complexities of human research. I have found interpretive work more helpful. Truth and Method by Gadamer is a tough read but teaches us about the complexities of lived knowledge. He says that we can take our assumptions with us into research so long as you self reflect on what they are much like your post suggests you are doing.

  4. | #4

    Kia ora Renee,
    This posting reminds me of some of the postings that Ally and Jennifer wrote when they were working through their data analysis on the Teachers’ Work project. I’d love to hear an example of one of your own hidden assumption(s) that you became aware of during your research, and what specific situations led you to become aware of them – and how you resolved your internal conflicts around this/these assumption(s) (if indeed you did)! There’s a challenge – can you reveal more without revealing too much, and/or without breaching any of your ethical responsibilities as a researcher in the project you’re talking about, (whatever the project happens to be)?

  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.