This seminar is for students interested in qualitative research that positions participants as co-producers of knowledge. This approach challenges positivist approaches to knowledge in which the researcher is The Expert and knowledge is extracted from research participants. Rather, participatory methods start from an understanding of research participants as experts in their lived experience who are capable of theorizing their worlds. This course will be of particular interest to students who wish to conduct research with youth, marginalized populations (including those who experience marginalization on the basis of refugee status, migration background, race, gender, sexuality, disability, etc.), and in international development contexts. The methods we study have roots in critical race, postcolonial, decolonial, feminist, and queer approaches to knowledge production. We read about the ethics and politics of knowledge production, and use hands-on approaches to learn methods including participatory action research, forum theatre, and visual mapping.
Perfect English is not required! Familiarity with qualitative or participatory research is also not required. An ability to read and discuss academic texts in English and a willingness to engage even when you do not understand everything will produce the best results in this seminar. You should also know that we will not debate the validity of foundational concepts such as the social construction of race and the existence of racism. The seminar will be organized around principles of shared knowledge production and mutual accountability for sustaining a space that is conducive to collaborative analysis.
Week 1 Overview of the Course
Week 2 Research Paradigms, Knowledge Production & Self-Reflexivity
Week 3 Introduction to Participatory Research Methods
Week 4 Problem Tree (Reading)
Week 5 Problem Tree (Workshop)
Week 6 Body Mapping (Reading)
Week 7 Body Mapping (Workshop)
Week 8 PhotoVoice (Reading)
Week 9 PhotoVoice (Workshop)
Week 10 Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) (Reading)
Week 11 YPAR (Case Study)
Week 12 Theatre of the Oppressed (Reading)
Week 13 Theatre of the Oppressed (Workshop)
Week 14 Peer Review Workshop
You will bring a draft of your assignment to workshop in class. More information will be provided.
Week 15 Research Celebration