Title

Decolonizing Educational Research: Insights From a Qualitative Evaluation of a Technology Transfer Project in Kenya

Location

DeSantis Room 1052

Format Type

Plenary

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

15-1-2020 9:45 AM

End Date

15-1-2020 10:05 AM

Abstract

It has been argued that the ideology of knowledge production within Eurocentric academic contexts imputes positional authority to Western research paradigms, thus pushing to periphery, knowledges and analytical approaches that sincerely address issues of marginalized and indigenous communities. The question then arises: what type of methodology should be adopted when looking at and evaluating the educational initiatives originating in the Western context implemented in the Global South.

We are familiar with the discourse on the theory-practice dichotomy in educational research. Often such dichotomy is attributed to a number of historical, colonial, cultural, social, political and economic differences in different contexts in which research is carried out. In its most obvious form, it plays out when a researcher goes to the field and finds out that the theoretical/methodological ideas formulated prior to the fieldwork are not be adequate to find the answers to her research questions.

These are problems that arise due to the direct importation of Western research models to non-Western contexts. From a purely procedural perspective, the literature on research methods tailored to the context of developed, Western, individualistic societies is of limited value and can be misleading, for those whose research is in different social, cultural, and material circumstances.

In this paper, I argue how insights from the qualitative decolonizing methodologies helped my fieldwork in Kenya. I will show how such methodological insights enabled me not only in navigating through the oppositions/dichotomies/tensions which often result from the use of dominant Western paradigms, but also uncover knowledge which is relational, storied, and experiential rather than purely cognitive (Kovach, 2012).

Keywords

Decolonizing educational research, Western research paradigms

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Jan 15th, 9:45 AM Jan 15th, 10:05 AM

Decolonizing Educational Research: Insights From a Qualitative Evaluation of a Technology Transfer Project in Kenya

DeSantis Room 1052

It has been argued that the ideology of knowledge production within Eurocentric academic contexts imputes positional authority to Western research paradigms, thus pushing to periphery, knowledges and analytical approaches that sincerely address issues of marginalized and indigenous communities. The question then arises: what type of methodology should be adopted when looking at and evaluating the educational initiatives originating in the Western context implemented in the Global South.

We are familiar with the discourse on the theory-practice dichotomy in educational research. Often such dichotomy is attributed to a number of historical, colonial, cultural, social, political and economic differences in different contexts in which research is carried out. In its most obvious form, it plays out when a researcher goes to the field and finds out that the theoretical/methodological ideas formulated prior to the fieldwork are not be adequate to find the answers to her research questions.

These are problems that arise due to the direct importation of Western research models to non-Western contexts. From a purely procedural perspective, the literature on research methods tailored to the context of developed, Western, individualistic societies is of limited value and can be misleading, for those whose research is in different social, cultural, and material circumstances.

In this paper, I argue how insights from the qualitative decolonizing methodologies helped my fieldwork in Kenya. I will show how such methodological insights enabled me not only in navigating through the oppositions/dichotomies/tensions which often result from the use of dominant Western paradigms, but also uncover knowledge which is relational, storied, and experiential rather than purely cognitive (Kovach, 2012).