Social Justice and Qualitative Community Research
Pp. 161-166 (6)
Research, pedagogy, instruction, learning and practice are not neutral endeavors. Values
neutrality is insisted by some; others regard it as unachievable. Both positions are concerned about the
role of values in QCR. Ethics and values are embedded and revealed through qualitative processes of
cognition, reflection, interpretation and construction of knowledge. These are fundamental for
conceptual and methodological issues of representation and voice. Qualitative research is a science, not
an ideology. However, eliminating social inequities, reducing disparities and achieving social justice
are goals of some researchers, educators, policy-makers, practitioners and everyday people. Qualitative
advocacy research necessitates consideration of one’s stance and methods. Research perspectives may
reinforce or challenge inequitable power relations, social structures, cultural assumptions, values, norms
and behaviors. Different groups have different views about the meanings and uses of research. These
are researchable issues. Advocacy research is characterized by a collaborative approach that affirms and
confirms the value of insights by participants and researchers. Data are collected and analyzed through
multiple sources and methods. Value is placed on participants’ and researchers’ cognitive frameworks,
experiences, cultures, discourses, meaning-making, reflecting, and related ways of shaping and
expressing their realities. The participants’ community is also considered a validator of the credibility,
authenticity and reliability of the findings, not just the researcher’s scientific community.
Values Neutrality, Stance and Methods, Critical Issues.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Howard University, Washington, D.C.