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Directions for research practice in decolonising methodologies: Contending with paradox

Tamara A. Lipscombe, Antonia Hendrick, Peta L Dzidic, Darren C. Garvey, Brian Bishop

2021 Australia

The complex nature of colonisation presents with the potential for paradoxes in decolonising approaches, hence, fixed conventions and methods are discouraged. In this way, decolonising methodologies concerns interrogating dominant conventions in research that have typically excluded alternative ways of knowing from academia. This raises concern about the issue of breaking conventions, when it is potentially difficult to realise that one is depending upon them. An incremental approach to the research process and subsequent knowledge generated provides opportunity to challenge the conventions that typically dictate research praxis. In addition, fostering epistemological transformation and pluralism presents a solution to problems derived from dominant cultural assumptions and practices. My aim for this article is to extend upon the literature pertaining to decolonising methodologies, with this contribution of focusing on the research process as a means to avoid paradox in the decolonial intention. Accordingly, a process imperative that focuses on how researchers do research, over the tendency to focus on outcomes, emerges as a strategy to identify and contend with paradoxes within decolonial work. A questioning convention is posited as a means for mining the assumptions and biases of the dominant culture that would otherwise ensnare ones thinking. Consequently, research may be better liberated from oppressive colonising practices that are tacit within research and academic conventions. Narratives are provided throughout for illustrative example, and to better explore the concepts named.

Decolonising methodologies, critical pedagogies, epistemological transformation and pluralism, relationships and knowledge, research process and contextualism, knowledge production