This work begins with a simple premise: (re)imagining a healing and restorative space for inquiry. Drawing on the work of John H. Stanfield II (2006), who first suggested the restorative functions of qualitative inquiry, this manuscript forms the basis for an axiologically-actuated conceptual model, restorative validity, which asks what it would take to (re)humanize researcher and researched alike. Beginning with the knowledge of co-researchers in our collective, the formulation of this framework was organized to understand the importance of orienting our research and ourselves toward relationships, justice, and liberation. After this review, I discuss a series of reflexive questions, rooted in the trans-disciplinarity of restorative justice, which researchers and practitioners can use to consider the potential and real harms in/from inquiry. By unsettling expertise and examining the implicit intersection of validity and ethics, I question: What would it take to be part of a research project that leaves those involved feeling greater than how we have all been defined? What happens when we do not question what our research does for/to us and our participants, especially when it spurs intellectual debate with little benefit in the way of peace, justice, or healing of past traumas and loss?


restorative validity, humanizing research, axiology, decolonizing research, reflexivity

Author Bio(s)

Giovanni P. Dazzo is Assistant Professor in the Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methodologies program at the Mary Frances Early College of Education at the University of Georgia. Please direct correspondence to giovanni.dazzo@uga.edu


This article would not have been possible without the knowledge, labor, and care of co-researchers from the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) and the Coordinadora Nacional de Viudas de Guatemala (CONAVIGUA, National Coordination of Widows of Guatemala). It is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of forcibly disappeared in Guatemala, whose stories are told through their bones and living family members. The search continues.

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