Researchers often research in contexts where their perspectives, understandings, and frames of reference are quite different from those whom they research. Notions of researcher and researched are complex. History has shown that the power imbalance favours the researcher and that there is an often unintentional, but nonetheless unhelpful tendency for researchers to view and interact with their research participants as "other".
In an attempt to bring such concerns to the fore and to encourage discussion, this book, Challenging Notions of "Other": Reframing Research in the Aotearoa New Zealand Context, grapples with this problem. It provides real-life examples of the many questions, concerns, dilemmas, and challenges that researchers face in a variety of research contexts. It views the notion of other from a variety of perspectives including those of "insiders" and outsiders”.
This book asks researchers to consider who they are in relation to those they research, and how they should adjust their practices to redress the power imbalance and create a positive research environment. The writers cover diverse areas such as researching with the disabled, Mäori and Pasifika, the gendered, the "sexual other", single mothers, teachers, children, and policy makers. They are open and honest about their own experiences and provide case studies of their journeys towards a more socially just world where diversity is valued and research is a reciprocally empowering process.
Carol Mutch is Director of Research at the Christchurch College of Education. Her research, writing, and teaching interests centre around research methods, educational policy, curriculum development, and various aspects of social education. She is widely published in international academic journals and books. Her recent title, Doing Educational Research: A Practitioner's Guide to Getting Started, is becoming a widely used text in Australia and New Zealand.