So I have come along to the point where now Decolonizing Methodologies is talking about indigenous research done by indigenous researchers and indigenous research done by non-indigenous researchers. Smith is critical of the reflexivity of non-indigenous, by showing how typically the reflexive process stops only at the person and their assumptions and not any further. She spells out nine questions that I am going to apply to one of my research projects that I have done.
Who defined the research problem?
I did. I saw the similarities of religious expression of Evangelicals mirroring theatre through its use of the arts and wanted to dig deeper into this idea. I am not the only one that views religious worship as a performance and I wanted to extend that discussion, even though it would not go much further then to my professors and graduate school admission committees.
It is interesting that this question specifies a research “problem” rather then a “question.” While one could say that they are sort of the same thing, I feel that “problem” is based in the idea that research is analyzing something problematic and trying to solve it. I guess in this project I am trying to predict something rather then just observe, making this a problem question rather then just observe and find out. This prediction is the basis of positivism and makes me a bit skittish about where exactly my research is going because this approach has a long and horrible history.
For whom is this study worthy and relevant? Who says so?
This study is worthy and relevant to the academic establishment. The churches in question may not find the research relevant to their existence and one of my interviewees, I think, was confused why I found this interesting. Again, it is me saying it is relevant, although the academic establishment validates the question as something worthy of study as I belong to it.
What knowledge will the community gain from this study?
The community is not going to gain much from the study because it is stuck in academic theory-making rather then practical, day to day information they can use for their services. One could say that my observations would be useful for audience feedback, but I have a feeling that is not what this question is getting after.
What knowledge will the researcher gain from this study?
I gained a lot of knowledge from this project about worship styles of other Christians, when I have mostly exposed to Catholic worship. I also gained practical knowledge about how to interview and how to do participant observation. Now what is striking is the fact that what I gained verse what they gain is asymmetrical, with the researcher in the place of power because I created that knowledge and kept it to myself.
What are some of the likely positive outcomes from this study?
More knowledge for me and the academic establishment.
What are some possible negative outcomes?
None that I can see, although perhaps my questions were a tad gossipy and would have put the interviewee in a difficult situation should his answers come to light.
How can the negative outcomes be eliminated?
By not asking the specific question.
To whom is the researcher accountable?
To my professors and the subjects that I studied.
What processes are in place to support the research, the researched, and the researcher?
The classroom because this project was done in the frame of learning to do research and working on the specific question.