Q & A with Dr. Bagele Chilisa, Part 2

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Dr. Bagale Chilisa is the author of the popular book, Indigenous Research Methodologies, which is now in its second edition. I asked her some questions about her work, and this is the second in a series of posts that feature her responses. Read the initial post here.

JS. In Chapter 2 you said:

The questions raised on voice, representation, and rights and ownership in the knowledge production process compel researchers to engage directly with the debates on how the colonized and historically silenced researched are represented in the texts that we write.

It seems to me that this point is important for all researchers, who should look carefully at literature and studies they reference, and take care in how they represent such research in their own writings. How do you suggest that researchers work with literature about previously colonized and silenced people and communities?

BC. The literature review is an important component of the strategies for creating methodologies that are inclusive of all knowledge system. The first question that researchers need to ask themselves is what constitutes literature review in those communities that have been silenced by current research methodologies. Researchers should retrieve literature stored in oral traditions, songs, language, proverbs, metaphors, sayings folklores and so on.  Chapter 3 discusses literature and deficit theorizing and gives examples of how songs performed in wedding, celebrations and so on can   be part of the literature reviewed.   From the literature we also derive concepts and theories that can inform how the study can be conceptualised. Chapter 9 gives examples of how indigenous language folklores and community stories can inform theorising of research problems.

JS. We’ve been looking at researchers’ roles on MethodSpace. Would you speak about the responsibilities of researcher as transformative healer? How are responsibilities different when researching your own, versus other cultures or communities? (Chapters 10 and 11)

BC. Regardless of whether the researcher is researching their ‘own’’ or the ‘’other’,  from an I am because we are principle, the researcher should  respect and honor all members of the human community as part of the research act.

Researcher is guided by an I/we relationship that is spiritual and promotes love and harmony

The researched are knowers and knowledge has a connection with the knowers.

The researcher is a transformative healer is actively involved in healing, building communities and promoting harmony.  Chapter 13   discusses some of the healing methodologies while chapter 14 discusses strategies for building partnerships and integrating knowledge systems. Community research protocols should guide the entire research process.

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