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Decolonizing Methodologies in Qualitative Research: Creating Spaces for Transformative Praxis

Vivetha Thambinathan Elizabeth Anne Kinsella

2021 Canada

Though there is no standard model or practice for what decolonizing research methodology looks like, there are ongoing scholarly conversations about theoretical foundations, principal components, and practical applications. However, as qualitative researchers, we think it is important to provide tangible ways to incorporate decolonial learning into our research methodology and overall practice. In this paper, we draw on theories of decolonization and exemplars from the literature to propose four practices that can be used by qualitative researchers: (1) exercising critical reflexivity, (2) reciprocity and respect for self- determination, (3) embracing “Other(ed)” ways of knowing, and (4) embodying a transformative praxis. At this moment of our historical trajectory, it is a moral imperative to embrace decolonizing approaches when working with populations oppressed by colonial legacies.

action research, community-based research, emancipatory research, ethical inquiry, par—participatory action research, methods in qualitative inquiry