How should we approach research when we are a part of the reality being researching? There are many ways to think about society and the people in it, when considering development research. Usually a lot of research, assumed by researchers, has taken people as subjects, examining their lives through statistics about income, housing, health, education etc. As per my experience in development field, when a research project is planned, formed and supplied by the external experts who already are the part of this society, which they are researching than it is very difficult to complete the research without any biases or their own perceptions.
In this paper I am going to discuss one of the difficulties of development research which generally researchers have to face, its effects and the way which I would like to approach my study at IDS. Preconceptions which create difficulties for researchers Development theories and practices cannot be separated from the individual perceptions and biases and because of this biasness of researchers; sometimes the results of the research do not show the reality of particular research area.
All the researchers whether they are Native or researchers from technologically advanced nations have to face problems equally because of their own perceptions and the prejudices of the people in emerging nations with whom they contact during their study. Furthermore, most of the researchers have their own social, cultural and educational orientation and this applied similarly to the respondents of the research and it affects the relationship between them (Sumner, Andy and Tribe, 2008, p. 43).
Generally, researchers belong to a different background and due to the preconception of respondents about their background many times respondents give wrong answers to their questions and it can change the whole purpose of research. In addition, researchers framed questions according to their interest; usually they do not have interest in their respondent’s choice. In other means they treat respondents as object only that is why they do not think to share their results of research among them who were the respondents.
Moreover, most of the researchers choose urban areas or easily accessible areas for their research while rural areas have been neglected by them because of the limited facilities such as transportation, and sanitation (Chambers, 1983, 1997, 2006, cited in Sumner, Andy and Tribe, 2008, p. 44). In addition, Chambers (2006) identified some types of biases which usually all the researchers have such as spatial bias, person bias, diplomatic bias and security bias.
For instance, if somebody is doing research on sexuality issues, his own values or prejudices stops him to ask questions about respondent’s sexuality because he is the part of this reality. Researchers generally meet key persons of the area like leaders, professionals, educated person, and government employee and that creates variation in results. However, it is difficult to do research without any biases and we have to find some other ways to do some productive development researches. Ways to keep away from biases
Biases and prejudices obstruct researchers to make contacts with the actual realities of the poor people of villages. The best way that keeps you away from biases is to make more visits to the villages and to spend some time with rural people to see and observe their regular lives (Chambers, 1983, 1997, 2006, cited in Sumner, Andy and Tribe, 2008, pp. 44-45). Furthermore, most of the researchers are the part of equal reality but they often use that they are doing research for the people not with the people. According to Spivak, 1998 (cited in Sumner, Andy and Tribe, 2008, p. 5) researchers may also do their research with the concept of with the people. Participatory approach is the best way to research with the people for getting information of the reality from inner mirror (Chambers, 1983, 1997, 2006, cited in Sumner, Andy and Tribe, 2008, pp. 44-45). Moreover, researchers should not use their researches only for publication also they should share their research results among respondents in their own language to create a positive environment as well as to eliminate the prejudices of the respondents. My approach of study
I think it is important to recognize that bias exists, and we must train researchers in a way that will allow them to recognize it and this will help them to build effective relationship with the respondents. I would like to learn and include all the effective strategies which will be beneficial for the development research. Especially I would prefer participatory approach because without participation of the people, on which we are going to study, it is quite impossible to do qualitative research. Moreover, I will try to explore the new ways of development research in which I can specify realities of people in more efficient manner.
I will try to understand the different models and approaches of community development or empowerment through interaction with development professionals from different countries. Furthermore, I will give emphasis on learning policy analysis and to address the development issues through people’s participation. I would like to be more analytical and more efficient in dealing the issues of community development. I hope studying in development sector will be a milestone in my development career. Bibliography Sumner, Andy & Tribe, Michael (2008), International Development Studies, Ch. 2, London: Sage Publications, pp. 43-45