This course explores the role of the researcher in promoting social justice and diversity in social work practice and explores models of research with, rather than on communities. Learners will become familiar with methodologies that are developed to challenge the social inequalities underlying the production and dissemination of knowledge.
The course is based upon critical theory premises, which deconstruct notions of a unitary truth that can be known by one method. While critical theory is diverse and comes with many debates within, for the purposes of this course, the goal of research is ultimately positioned to be a means of challenging and changing the inequities around them through understanding human conditions.
The course will draw on insights from disciplines such as Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, Aboriginal Studies, Critical Race Theory, Disability Studies, and LGBT Studies in examining the dynamics of race, gender, power, social change and their intersectionalities in the research process. Central to this course are methodologies that seek to redress power dynamics between researcher and those being “researched”. We will examine the strengths and challenges of Participatory Action Research, Community-Based Research, Feminist Research, and Anti-Oppressive Research. We will also explore questions that arise when we utilize interviews, focus groups, participant observation and arts-based methods in the context of community-based, anti-oppressive research.
During the course, learners will have the opportunity to design their own research project that reflects perspectives from anti-oppressive perspectives.