In different fields of study, scholars interested in making a positive difference in the lives of their research communities insist on engaging policy makers and activists in their work. Paulo Freire, one of the most widely known public intellectuals, asserts that praxis enables critical thought, awareness and collaborative action for emancipation for oppressed groups. Within this framework, our contribution aims to provoke thinking on the need for accountability to research subjects in development research through an emphasis on producing policy-focused and change-driven, as opposed to purely theoretically oriented, knowledge. The overarching argument is that research should, in fact, be conscious and proactive about its contribution to positive social change. Drawing on primary data gathered through field research in Ghana between 2010 and 2016, the paper highlights respondent fatigue/distrust, cross-cultural translation, and the peculiarities of the diasporic researcher as some of the methodological challenges faced in the attempt to align one’s research towards the pursuit of positive social change. Some modest suggestions are provided regarding how to enhance the impact of research for social transformation.
Social Research, Empowerment, Praxis-Oriented Research, Social Change, Communities, People’s Lives
The corresponding author is grateful for the financial support provided by the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Canada) to complete part of the research from which the idea behind this contribution evolved.
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Recommended APA Citation
Andrews, N., & Bawa, S. (2019). “People come and go but we don’t see anything”: How Might Social Research Contribute to Social Change?. The Qualitative Report, 24(11), 2874-2890. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3619