Addressing Lather's concerns: practicing in research endeavours what is preached in theoretical formulations

Hawkins, Karen (2009) Addressing Lather's concerns: practicing in research endeavours what is preached in theoretical formulations. In: AARE 2008: Australian Association for Research in Education Annual Conference 2008: Changing Climates - Education for Sustainable Futures?, 30 Nov - 4 Dec 2008, Brisbane, Australia.

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Too often, we who do empirical research in the name of emancipatory politics fail to connect how we do research to our theoretical and political commitments. Yet if critical inquirers are to develop a ‘praxis of the present’, we must practice in our empirical endeavours what we preach in our theoretical formulations. Research which encourages self and social understanding and change-enhancing action on the part of ‘developing progressive groups’ requires research designs that allow us as researchers to reflect on how our value commitments insert themselves into our empirical work. Our own frameworks of understanding need to be critically examined as we look for the tensions and contradictions they might entail. (Lather 1991, p. 80)

It is not the intention of this paper to outline my research project per se, as this has been discussed in past papers (see Hawkins, 2007a, 2007b, 2007c). This paper highlights the argument for the importance of making explicit and connecting one’s own personal beliefs and understandings (theories) with one’s research. The intention of this paper is to address Patti Lather’s concerns and examine my own “frameworks of understanding” (Lather, 1991, p. 80) that underpinned my doctoral research project. Specifically, this paper scrutinises my worldview and the philosophies that complement this worldview. These frameworks helped develop “a praxis of the present” (Lather, 1991, p. 80) for the doctoral project. By examining the frameworks and value commitments that underpinned the research project this paper facilitates an understanding of how these frameworks and value commitments have, to use Lather’s (1991) terms, ‘inserted themselves into my empirical work’. As Kincheloe (2003, p. 84-85) states “our understanding of an educational situation depends on the context within which we encounter it and the theoretical frames which the researcher brings to the observation. These ideological frames are the glasses through we see the world.” Consequently, the lens through which I viewed the world was of paramount importance to my research project. Therefore, this paper firstly discusses a participatory worldview (drawn from Denzin & Lincoln, 2005; Laszlo, 1996, 2003; Reason & Bradbury, 2006) through which I perceive the world and my doctoral study. This worldview emphasises participation, relationships and interrelationships. My participatory worldview complements this research project’s methodology of participatory action research and how data was collected and analysed (for extended discussions see Hawkins, 2007a, 2007b). This paper then discusses the philosophical thinking that underpinned this research project. I drew from many philosophical sources to meld together a research philosophy that aligned with my participatory worldview and that supported my research project. This research philosophy values participation, collaboration, respect, caring, empathy, trust and understanding.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: All the Abstracts and Conference Papers in this collection are copyright under Australian law and international conventions. Each Abstract or Conference Paper is copyright by the individual author or authors and may not be reproduced without permission of the author or authors. If necessary AARE will assist those wishing to reproduce the works to locate authors.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Education (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2009 02:44
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2014 01:10
Uncontrolled Keywords: philosophical frameworks; theoretical frameworks
Fields of Research (2008): 16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160805 Social Change
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2202 History and Philosophy of Specific Fields > 220202 History and Philosophy of Education
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2201 Applied Ethics > 220107 Professional Ethics (incl. police and research ethics)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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