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The Contribution of Research to Social Change. Diane Ross, Associate Professor Otterbein University Westerville, Ohio USA. Essential Questions for the week. How does your interest in peace and social justice move your areas of inquiry?

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the contribution of research to social change

The Contribution of Research to Social Change

Diane Ross, Associate Professor

Otterbein University

Westerville, Ohio USA

essential questions for the week
Essential Questions for the week
  • How does your interest in peace and social justice move your areas of inquiry?
  • How is this question situated in the field of “Peace Research” as defined by Galtung and others?
  • How can we work in community to support each other’s areas of inquiry?
  • How does this question move your actions in creating a world that is more peaceful and just?
  • Before (pre-assessment)
    • Research survey and personal goals
  • During (formative assessment)
    • Development of your personal question
      • Butcher block paper- Gallery Walk
    • Action Research Plan (formative assessment)
    • Appreciative Inquiry Protocol (formative assessment)
  • Post- assessment
    • Research proposal
    • Presentation
    • Turn in a digital copy by email- before a grade is turned in
    • Will support your research for up to 30 years
how we will get there
How we will get there....

Survey Previous Research Foundation- Monday

Begin to formulate your own personal research agenda

Introduce Research Paradigms

Gallery Walk of Critical Feedback

Introduce Peace Research/ Galtung theory of Peace Research

Introduce Action Research Paradigm- Tuesday

Participate in a Action Research Activity

Introduce Appreciative Inquiry Paradigm- Wednesday

Participate in Appreciative Inquiry Activity

Introduce structure of paper and research tools (including online databases)- Thursday

Participate in Critical Colleague Activity- Friday

Share personal research protocol with the class/ Graded assignment

how do i situate myself as a peace researcher
How do I situate myself as a peace researcher?
  • Mom
  • Teacher
  • Researcher
  • Scholar
  • Peace Activist
  • Your Servant Leader this week
area of inquiry
Area of Inquiry
  • Dissertation: How do I understand my role in preparing teachers who teach for peace and social justice
        • Research Methodology- Heuristics; an autobiographical phenomenological method, to explore this issue.
        • Conclusions: Middle childhood teacher educators must spend their own lives acquiring dispositions to practice social justice and equity if the pre-service educators they instruct are to have any possibility of acquiring these dispositions themselves.
  • Acquiring Cultural Consciousness through Field Experiences in “Developing Countries”: A Case Study in Kampala, Uganda
        • Research Methodology- Qualitative Case Study- personal journals, student journals, interviews, observations
  • Ross, D. A. (2008), "Culturally competent and socio-politically conscious teaching: A teacher educator works to model the journey to critical cultural competence". International Journal of Multicultural Education, Vol 10, No 1.
  • Ross, D. A.  & Wicks, M.  (2007 winter) "Making authentic service learning alive in middle level classrooms".  Ohio Middle School Association.
  • Ross, D.A. (2005, spring). "Project SAIL (Summer academy for integrated learning): A college/school partnership for middle school reform".  Ohio Middle School Journal: Columbus, Ohio.
  • Ross, D. A., & Lehr, L. (2000, May). "Educators and the paradigmatic struggle in teaching and learning in a digital technology reality: An interpretive study"  Research Center for Educational Technology (RCET).  Kent, Ohio 
what is research1
What is research
  • Inquiry
  • collaborative
  • Activity
  • Stating a hypothesis
  • Testing hypothesis
  • Looking for patterns
  • Developing relationships that illustrate behaviors
  • Getting in contact with subject
  • Lab
  • Extension of your original thoughts
  • Disprove the null
Research is an organized studywith methodical investigation into a subject in order to discover facts, to establish or revise a theory, or to develop a plan of action basedon the facts discovered
Research is a frame of mind….a perspective that people take toward objects and activities

(Bogdan and Biklen 1992: 223)

what are the most pressing questions that you have around the issues of peace and social justice
What are the most pressing questions that you have around the issues of peace and Social justice?
Because all change processes begin with framing an issue and collecting data, we become aware that in the very act of doing these preliminary activities, we are socially constructing our future through choices we make and dialogue we use.
It is through language that we create the world, because it is nothing until we describe it. And when we describe it, we create distinctions that govern our actions. To put it another way, we do not describe the world we see, but we see the world we describe….

Joseph Jaworski, Synchronicity

Inquiry and change are not separate, but are simultaneous. Inquiry is intervention. The seeds of change – the things people think and talk about, discover and learn, and that inform dialogue and inspire images of the future- are implicit in the very first questions that we ask.
We come to know ourselves by bringing to consciousness the process by which our view points are formed…
You will learn what you already know. You need to learn how to generalize significantly what you know.
Write one question of inquiry that you currently have on butcher block paper and hang this on the wall
critical colleagues
Critical Colleagues
  • Pose one question under each research question
social research disciplines
Social Research disciplines….



comparative musicology

communication studies

cultural studies




human geography

international development

international relations

linguistics, media studies, philology

political science

psychology (at least in part)

social work

social policy


Epistemologies and Ontologies

How we see the world and how we come to know….







The knower and the known cannot be separated


Gap between rich and poor

No single reality

Knowledge is conjectural






Rising Nuclear Age

Global threat to the environment

Participant Observer

Outsider/ Observer

Ex. Adapting visual methods: Action Research with Kampala Street Children

Ex, Quantitative Research Provides Compelling Evidence for Success of Participatory Development Programme in Uganda

Research Processes

Social Research

Positivist and/or Post-positivist

“Soft Sciences”

Scientific Research


“Hard Sciences”






Cultural Studies

Ex: Psychosocial Vulnerability and Resilience Measures

For National-Level Monitoring of Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children

Ex: Alcohol Consumption in Uganda

Research Process:

Systematic Interaction Between Theories and Data

Quantitative Methods

What/ Where/ When

Qualitative Methods

Why/ How


Smaller number of attributes across many cases

Concerned with understanding the meaning of social phenomena

Larger number of attributes across relatively few cases

Attempts to quantify social phenomena

Collects and analyzes numerical data

Interpretation over quantification








Focus Groups







Semi/Un structured


Text -Based Data




Social Sciences




Value orientation




Action Research

Appreciative Inquiry

Constructivist with a Value Orientation for Peace

Peace Research

peace research how would you define it
Peace research how would you define it
  • Networking using technology
  • Spreading data information in order to inform and empower
  • Finding a balance between theory and reality
  • Applying different methods in research
  • Doing, interdisciplinary, inter ideological, international thinking, civilization, dialogic
  • Dynamic and active
  • Insighting change
  • contextual
  • Questions assumptions
  • Dangerous to repeat prior views
  • Promoting universal access to information
  • Understanding the world to facilitate change
  • Analyzing the topic and the self
  • Having an end goal which is an avoidance of violence
  • Build upon the old to build the new
social justice and research basic premise for the class
Social Justice and Research….Basic premise for the class…

Social justice is not static or timeless. The theory of justice is understood as an attempt to understand what a society’s actions, practices, and norms mean and to elucidate what a community’s shared understandings are so that they are agreed upon principles of social justice.

elements of peace research
Elements of Peace Research


Explicit value





peace studies are johan galtung 2005 peace a ten point primer
Peace studies are……..Johan Galtung (2005, Peace: A Ten Point Primer)




(I would say… focused on change…)

Paradigm of Praxis




dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses.

scientific statements are subject to and derived from our experiences or observations

Construct hypotheses

Compare data and hypotheses



Politically empowering

Compare data with values related to peace

Data must be explicit

Comparison carried out with rigor

Human behavior critics

constructive studies
Constructive studies
  • Do not shy away from making recommendations
    • Adequate reasoning
    • Value premises
    • Adequate data
    • Explicit values
    • Well tested theories
…rejects the notion of researcher neutrality, understanding that the most active researcher is often one who has most at stake in resolving a problematic situation.
response to class dross@otterbein edu
Response to class…[email protected]

What caused you to “show up” today?

What new learnings did you acquire today?

What questions do you have after today?

What hopes do you have for this class time together?

This time together will be successful if…

good research questions
Good Research Questions
  • Is my research question compelling?
    • Is it important to you?
    • Is it important to a larger community?
    • Is it authentically engaged?
  • Is my research broad enough to support multiple perspectives?
    • Does my research avoid dichotomies?
  • Is my research question researchable?
    • Are primary and secondary resources are available
  • Is my research manageable in the allotted time?
  • Who are the people involved in my research?
  • Where is the place I will focus for my research?
  • What is the point in time I am researching?
  • What is the point of view behind this issue?
important questions to consider
Important Questions to consider
  • What are the important research questions in my field
  • What areas need further exploration?
  • Could my study fill a gap?
  • Has a great deal of study already been conducted on this topic?
  • Has this study been done before? If so, is there area for improvement?
  • Is the timing right for this topic to be explored?
  • Is this a hot topic?, or is it becoming obsolete?
  • Would funding sources be available?
  • Is the target community interested?
  • Will my study have a significant impact on the field?
questions from yesterday
Questions from yesterday
  • How will we be graded?
    • Maria Lucia
  • Why is it important to understand research methodology?
  • What is happening the rest of the week
    • Wed.
      • Appreciative Inquiry
    • Thurs.
      • Research tools
      • Literature Review
      • Critical Colleague Review
    • Friday
      • Small group presentations
      • Party....
        • You and your group decide what you want to make and I will buy the food
        • I shared with you share with me....
credibility reliability validity ethics
Credibility, Reliability, Validity, Ethics
  • Reliability- consistent over time and accurate
    • Qualitative
      • generating understanding
      • Internal audit
      • Dependability
      • trustworthiness
Validity- does the research measure what it is intended to measure
    • Qualitative
      • Quality
      • Rigor
      • Trustworthiness
      • Confidence in the findings
      • Truths
      • transferrability
  • Well established research methods
  • Embedding yourself in the culture of the population
  • Triangulation
  • Rich description
  • Random sampling
  • Ensuring honesty in “participants”- right to refusal
  • Iterative questioning
  • Negative case analysis
  • Frequent debriefing
  • Peer review/ critical colleague
  • Reflective commentary from researcher
  • Member checks
  • Catalytic
  • Educative
ethnographical research
Ethnographical Research

Immersing an individual researcher or research team in the everyday activities of an organization or society, usually for a prolonged period of time, very naturalistic, impossible to gather from laboratory or "clean room" observational studies.  

An ethnographic study of rural community literacy practices in Bweyale and their implications for adult literacy education in Uganda

phenomenological research
Phenomenological research

Observation of an experience

From it the essential features of experiences and the essence of what we experience.

Hannah Arendt: Eichmann in Jerusalem(1963), "the banality of evil“

feminist research
Feminist research
  • all research is essentially value-driven
  • always results in some kind of new action or practice
  • is `driven' by the interests of the women / the oppressed
  • collaborative design and conduct of the research;
  • questions, and otherwise disrupts the reproduction and perpetuation of power relationships that subordinate “women” `subjects' as objects
  • respects and values women's experiences and their accounts of them
      • Troubling the Angels, Patti Lather..
critical theory
Critical theory

Research is an ethical and political act

Paulo Friere

auto ethnography
  • Writing about the Self Analytically
    • Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez: An Autobiography. By Richard Rodriguez. Boston, MA: D.R. Godine, 1982.
    • Social blindness: An autoethnographic study of the interplay of language, cognition, and genetics in a family with an autistic child.

Internal search through which one discovers the nature and meaning of experience and develops methods and procedures for further investigation and analysis.

Knowledge derived is attained through tacit, intuitive or observed phenomena, is deepened through indwelling, focusing, self-searching or dialogue with others, and always needs a medium or base - its frame of reference

Loneliness, Moustakas, Clark

action research

Action Research

What is it?

Brainstorm with your Critical Colleague

action research1
Action research

The roots of action research can be found in anthropology, social-psychology, and education. Research that produces nothing but books will not suffice (Dewey, 1916, Goodenough, 1963, Lewin, 1946).

kurt lewin
Kurt Lewin

then a professor at MIT, first coined the term “action research” in about 1944,

research leading to social action” that uses “a spiral of steps, each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action, and fact-finding about the result of the action


• It is democratic, enabling the participation of all people.

• It is equitable, acknowledging people’s equality of worth.

• It is liberating, providing freedom from oppressive, debilitating conditions.

• It is life enhancing, enabling the expression of people’s full human potential.

(Stringer 1999: 9-10)

Knowledge is derived from practice

Practice is informed by knowledge,

It is an ongoing process

action research is
Action Research is….

Cycle of reflective practice


Made Public

Act to improve practice by

Implementing a plan of action

Evaluating the action

Planning a report

action research cycle of reflective practice1
Action ResearchCycle of Reflective Practice…
  • Observe the consequences of one’s action
    • Collecting data
    • Describing what is there
action research cycle of reflective practice2
Action ResearchCycle of Reflective Practice
  • Reflect on the situation, one’s self, and the research process exploring:
    • Exploring: What is happening here
    • Interpreting and explaining: How/why are things as they are
    • Reconsidering: In what ways can I make the research process better
key elements
Key Elements

Degree of empowerment given to all voices

Unrestrained dialogue between researcher and participants

Role of reflection (reflection in action)

action research in peace studies
Action Research in Peace Studies
  • STAYING TRUE IN NEPAL: Understanding Community Mediation through Action Research
  • Silence(ing), voice(s) and gross violations of human rights: constituting and performing subjectivities through PhotoPAR.
  • Everyday understandings of peace and non-peace: peacekeeping and peacebuilding at a US Midwestern high school.
examples analysis of the method
Examples: Analysis of the method
  • What is the research question
    • How did the researcher enter the field?
    • Is the researcher an “insider” or an “outsider”
  • Description of the problem
    • Who defined the problem?
      • Was it collaborative?
      • Was it democratic?
  • Action
    • What actions were taken?
  • How was the effect of the action recorded?
    • Data collection tools?
  • What were the findings?
  • What tools were used to ensure reliability and validity?
action research2
Action Research



Funding sources-research question in advance


Vested interest

Truth-what does collaborative

  • Multiple voices
  • Collaborative
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Vested interest
  • inclusive
what is it
What is it???
  • Appreciate…verb…1. valuing; the act of recognizing the best in people or the world around us; affirming past and present strengths, successes, and potentials; to perceive those things that give life (health, vitality, excellence) to living systems. 2. to increase in value
Inquire- verb 1. the act of exploration and discovery. 2. To ask questions; to be open to seeing new potentials and possibilities.
appreciative inquiry is
Appreciative Inquiry is….

particular way of asking questions and envisioning the future that fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, a situation, or an organization. In so doing, it enhances a system's capacity for collaboration and change

appreciative inquiry1
Appreciative Inquiry

Organizational development process or philosophy

Engages individuals within an organizational system

Utilizes a 4-stage process

stages of appreciative inquiry
Stages of Appreciative Inquiry


The identification of organizational processes that work well.


The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.


Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.


The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.

Appreciative Inquiry 4- D Cycle


What gives life?



How to empower, learn, adjust, improvise?



What is the world calling for?

Envisioning Results

Affirmative Topic Choice


What should be—the ideal?

Co- constructing

Generative process
  • Organic process (all parts are defined by the whole….cannot take an organization apart to study pieces
  • What do we do well?
Build organizations around what works, rather than trying to fix what doesn't... It can be enjoyable and natural to many managers, who are often sociable people
The approach acknowledges the contribution of individuals, in order to increase trust and organizational alignment
Used extensively to foster change in businesses (a variety of sectors), health care systems, social profit organizations, educational institutions, communities, local governments, and religious institutions.
  • Statements and rules that explain what a group generally believes
  • Explain the context of the group’s choices and behaviors
  • Are usually not visible to or verbalized by the participants/members; rather than develop and exist
  • Must be made visible and discussed before anyone can be sure of the group beliefs
assumptions of appreciative inquiry
Assumptions of Appreciative Inquiry
  • In every society, organization, or group, something works
  • What we focus on becomes our reality
  • Reality is created in the moment, and there are multiple realities
  • The act of asking questions of an organization or a group influences the group in some way
People have more confidence and comfort to journey to the future (the unknown) when they carry forward parts of the past (the known)
  • If we carry parts of the past forward, they should be what is best about the past
  • It is important to value difference
  • The language we use creates our reality.
appreciative inquiry and peace
Appreciative Inquiry and Peace
  • Appreciative Inquiry and Public Dialogue:

An Approach to Community Change

  • Appreciative Inquiry for Peace Building: A Case Study of Constitution Making Process in Nepal
  • Transforming Educational Practice for Peace in Northern Ireland: The Power of Narrative Dialogue.
examples analysis of the method1
Examples: Analysis of the method
  • What is the research question
    • How did the researcher enter the field?
    • Is the researcher an “insider” or an “outsider”
  • Description of the problem
    • Who defined the problem?
      • Was it collaborative?
      • Was it democratic?
  • Action
    • What actions were taken?
  • How was the effect of the action recorded?
    • Data collection tools?
  • What were the findings?
  • What tools were used to ensure reliability and validity?
tools for research
Tools for research

Literature Review (secondary resources)

Data Collection: Raw data (primary resources)

Data analysis

good literature review
Good literature review…

It is written by an authority on the topic.

It contains accurate information.

It is relevant to your assignment.

It has a clear purpose (to persuade, inform, sell something etc).

The information it contains has been reviewed prior to publication.

using the internet
Using the Internet

While researching on the Internet:1. Always question why the information is being distributed on the Internet.2. Always notice the domain name (example: .gov or .org are generally more trustworthy than .com sites).3. Unless otherwise directed, there are better sites to use than Wikipedia.

internet sites according to suffix
Internet sites according to suffix

.edu- An educational establishment runs the website. This does not mean that the information you find is academic, many schools provide students with their own web pages, which contain personal opinions and information that might not be correct.

.gov- Governmental Agencies

.net- Network provider

.com- Commercial establishments, companies such as Converse and Amazon have the .com suffix attached to their sites.

.org- Organizational web site. They are often nonprofit, i.e. .American Sociological Association or PETA. The intent is to influence public opinion about a particular cause or issue.


indispensable tools for performing research. A database is an electronic or computerized list of books, articles, and other publications.

Transcend Media

Transcend Peace links


Peace media clearinghouse

Swiss Peace



Conflict analysis and

Journal of Religion Conflict, and Peace

United States Institute for Peace


Conciliation Resources

Journal of Humanitarian Assistance

Journal for the Study of Peace and Conflict


Peace and Conflict Studies


Peace Conflict Development 

formatting and style guide
Formatting and style guide

data interpretation step 2
Data Interpretation…Step 2



Sort (use colors, numbers, cut/paste)



Find Patterns


Create concept map, chart, table…



Digital Voice Recording


data interpretation step 1
Data Interpretation….Step #1


Use rich, accurate detail

data interpretation step 3
Data interpretation… Step #3

Interpret/ Explain

What do I make of all of this?

How does this fit into a larger framework?

critical colleagues1
Critical Colleagues

Find one critical colleague

Sit down with that person

Face that person

Listen to that person without giving any advice

Ask questions to help the researcher clarify their research questions (use research protocol)