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Decolonizing Methodologies

Decolonizing Methodologies

"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.

ACRL Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education  

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.

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Articles & Databases

Common Topics within Social Science

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.

Approaches Topics    
An analysis of... Abortion Gang violence Racial profiling
A comparison between... Affirmative action Gay rights Racism
The consequences of... Age discrimination Genetically modified food Rape
The effectiveness of.... Addiction and substance abuse Gentrification Retail profiling
The efficacy of.... Animal rights Global warming Recycling and conservation
The impact of.... Birth control Gun control Right to work
Findings from.... Bulimia nervosa/Anorexia nervosa Gun rights Same-sex marriage
The relationship between... Bullying Hate crimes Sex trade
A review of.... Campus crime Hazing Sexism
Capital punishment/Death penalty Health care Sexual harassment
Child abuse Home foreclosures Shopping while black
Child labor Human trafficking Single parenting
Classism Hunger Social media and privacy
Climate change Immigration/immigrants Spousal abuse/Intimate partner abuse
Cloning Illiteracy Steroid use in sports
Corporal punishment Legalization of marijuana Suicide
Cyber bullying Mass murder Sweat shops
Date rape Mental health Teen pregnancy
Debt Minimum wage Terrorism
Disaster relief Obesity Unemployment
Domestic violence Opiods Union busting
Driving while black Outsourcing jobs Vigilantism
Eating disorders Police brutality Violence in schools
Education/Charter schools Pollution Voter disenfranchisement
Environmental pollution Population growth Voting rights restrictions
Environmental racism Pornography War
Equal pay Poverty Workplace violence
Euthanasia/Mercy killing/Assisted suicide Prayer in school
Excessive force by law enforcement Prisons/Sentencing
Felony disenfranchisement Prostitution



Book Catalogs

Book catalogs:

Search these catalogs for books on your research topic.

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Meriam Library | CSU, Chico