Guest Blog Post: “Why are you doing this? Reflections on fieldwork and the ‘purpose’ of Social Science research”
This blog post is from a guest contributor, a Sussex Postgraduate researcher grappling with the following question:What is the point of conducting field research among the marginalised or oppressed, if this research will not lead to any immediate improvements onto their lives?
Read below to see how our guest blogger tries to reconcile with their different positionalities to try and make themselves and their research support the communities they collaborate with. The post highlights some of the contradictions between promising ‘effective’ and ‘impactful’ research, and the realities of working with complex marginalised communities who are in need of both structural changes and different forms of research/activist support.
This blog post is an interesting take on the ‘epistemic extractivism’ of field research, and discussed ways in to try and break the chain of extraction through activist engagements in and beyond fieldwork. While publishers may strive for ‘completed’ research that promises ‘big impact’, the reality is that researchers ‘in the field’ best support communities through a critical and full transparency of what their roles and research can realistically give. Sometimes this is more ‘long-term’ and slower paced than what publishers (or PhD researchers) first aspired.
If you are ever in doubt about your research and the ethics, however, please read more about the ethical review process for PGRs here.
The Research Hive is a space dedicated to researchers in the University of Sussex Library. Each year three PhD student Hive Scholars run a programme of events for researchers. Check out our blog!
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