"Whose research is it? Who owns it? Whose interests does it serve? Who will benefit from it? Who has designed its questions and framed its scope? Who will carry it out? Who will write it up? How will its results be disseminated?"
"These questions are simply part of larger set of judgments on criteria that a research cannot prepare for, such as: Is her spirit clear? Does he have a good heart? What other baggage are they carrying? Are they useful to us? Can they fix up our generator? Can they actually do anything?"
Linda Tuhiwai Smith (Maori), from her book Decolonizing Methodologies
Authority is Constructed and Contextual.
Many scholars in academia rely solely on peer-reviewed articles. Citations implicitly grant power and authority to the item cited. Relying solely on peer-reviewed research articles is one mechanism for reifying dominant power structures.
Indigenous and decolonial scholars assert there is a long history of racist and colonial research methods within social science. Throughout much of history Indigenous communities in Africa, Asia, the Americas, the West Indies, Oceana, and some regions in Europe were subjected to research, categorizations, and hierarchical structures by European colonizing forces. Indigenous knowledge systems were stifled and denigrated as inferior.
Decolonial researchers learn to challenge Eurocentric biases and commit to conducting research which recentered Indigenous methodologies, cultures, histories, and ways of knowing.
This list, originally compiled by San Jose State University librarian Kathryn Blackmer-Reyes, includes common topics within social science. These make useful keywords when searching our databases. One way to help create your topic or research inquiry is to choose an approach from the first column and link it to one or two topics in the remaining columns.
|An analysis of...
|A comparison between...
|The consequences of...
|Genetically modified food
|The effectiveness of....
|Addiction and substance abuse
|The efficacy of....
|Recycling and conservation
|The impact of....
|Right to work
|Bulimia nervosa/Anorexia nervosa
|The relationship between...
|A review of....
|Capital punishment/Death penalty
|Shopping while black
|Social media and privacy
|Spousal abuse/Intimate partner abuse
|Steroid use in sports
|Legalization of marijuana
|Driving while black
|Violence in schools
|Voting rights restrictions
|Euthanasia/Mercy killing/Assisted suicide
|Prayer in school
|Excessive force by law enforcement
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