A researcher needs to understand the various research methodologies to use during a research process to identify the most effective approach in a given situation or geographical region. In week six, we learned about the different research methodologies, including triangulation and decolonizing research methods used in researching indigenous groups. In this paper, I will highlight some of the things I have learned about decolonizing research methods from Norma Romm’s article, qualitative social research.
Decolonizing the research approach is a method that challenges the way Eurocentric research methodologies undermine the local community’s knowledge and experiences during data collection in indigenous communities such as Africa. When using decolonizing practices, the notion of power is crucial as it emphasizes equality between the researcher and the indigenous group under investigation. Through this study, I realize that the solution to the contending issue of power is observing the focus group’s memorandum of understanding and protecting the indigenous community’s cultural values. A researcher must understand that they are not the producers of the research knowledge, and therefore, they must work with the indigenous community for equal contribution of valuable knowledge to enhance the research process.
Understanding the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) from focus groups is essential as it ensures a research process that is ethical and respectful, which builds trust between partners, promoting collaboration and transparency during interviews and discussions. I am also aware of the importance of MOU’s in decolonizing research approaches where indigenous groups can use them to fight against unethical research practices such as exploiting their human and cultural rights. In this case, a researcher must understand the focus group’s cultural values and social ethics before undertaking the research.
Distinctly, trust is an important factor when using decolonizing research method as it indicates the relationship between the partners and focus groups. Through this study, I realized that indigenous people might lack trust in researchers due to underlying factors like colonialism. According to the author, developing trust between the researcher and focus groups leads to healthy co-operations, research inclusivity, and critical inquiry. I have also learned that developing trust involves introducing the research as a joint exercise in learning between the researcher and the focus groups. Alternatively, defining and clarifying the purpose of the study in focus groups also helps develop trust and obtain valuable feedback throughout the research process. I will be more open when researching by introducing the research purpose, methodology and asking the focus group’s feedback and contributions at the end of every discussion.
Through this article, I have realized that decolonizing methodology requires an open mind when thinking and analyzing the research context. This is because local knowledge and experiences dominate the research process, unlike the Eurocentric research methodologies, which follow a specific approach during research. In decolonizing research involving historical or social issues such as improving education in an indigenous region, researchers encourage community members to think critically and beyond cultural competencies when giving information. Therefore, I now realize that the decolonizing research approach enhances a community’s social growth and development during the research process, which is beneficial to the indigenous people.
Regarding focus groups as data collection tools, this article has taught me that adopting discussions from focus groups as a data collection method provides more interactive and collective data than individual interviews and questionnaires. Focus groups encourage togetherness, critical inquiry, and thinking as a community where members contribute to each other statements to obtain a conclusive answer or suggestion on the issue under investigation.
In conclusion, Decolonizing research methodology is relevant to researchers who aim at producing inclusive and progressive research through open discussion in focus groups and critical inquiry from community members. I have realized the efficacy of decolonizing research over Western research methodologies where the decolonizing approach is more open to discussion and observes equality in power, and focuses on building trust between community members and researchers. It also and encourages communal contribution, which leads to different outcomes compared to the Western research methods that lead to the expected outcome only on most cases.