Designing Truly Emancipatory, Participatory Research is Complex: Discussing the More Difficult Decisions

Prof Katherine Tyson McCrea
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Although several movements seek to make social and behavioral research more applicable for advocates and practitioners, and more helpful for socially traumatized communities, and although philosophers of the social and behavioral sciences underscore the value of emancipatory research, designing research that accomplishes emancipatory aims is complicated. Ethical, substantive, and methodological aims often do not coincide; there are multiple constituencies for the researcher to consider (community members, policy-makers, practitioners, multiple disciplines in the academic community), and scientific standards may diverge across disciplines.

This workshop offers an opportunity to discuss the complexities of designing emancipatory interdisciplinary research, so participants can benefit from their shared experiences and insights. The touchstone for the workshop will be a paper beginning with examples from Jane Addams and others who were effective in using research to bring about social change, then proceeding to an outline of the central questions (drawing from a case study and comprehensive literature review) for our group discussion. The case example is research being designed in the context of a service-based Partnership with diverse memberships: residents of a Midwestern city’s public housing, social service providers, and faculty from different disciplines and universities.

The community residents are undergoing mandatory relocations to mixed-income and scattered-site housing, and seek supportive services and advocacy, and the Partnership’s commitment is that research will be used to empower and benefit residents. The topics to be considered in this workshop include: defining the purpose of research; determining who the ‘clients’ are who will use the research findings; ‘muckraking’ research and its impact on agencies and community members; the roles of researcher and ‘subjects’; decisions about data collection and analysis so as to maximize validity, accuracy, and fidelity; triangulation to regulate bias throughout the design process; and informed consent. Handouts, including a comprehensive bibliography, will be available for participants.

Keywords: Participatory Action Research, Community Empowerment, Advocacy for Socially Traumatized Communities
Stream: Sociology and Geography, Education and Social Welfare, Research Methodologies, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof Katherine Tyson McCrea

Professor, School of Social Work, Loyola University Chicago
Chicago, IL, USA

Katherine Tyson McCrea, Ph.D. is a tenured Professor at the Loyola University of Chicago School of Social Work. She also is a psychotherapist who treats children and adults, and she consults with social workers in public and private mental health and school settings. She obtained her undergraduate and Masters of Divinity degrees from Yale University, and her Masters and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. She has been a consulting editor for Social Work and other human services journals, and has presented extensively in this country and abroad on clinical social work treatment of adults and children and social work’s philosophy of research. She has published several articles about the treatment of children and residential care for severely mentally ill, homeless adults, and also a book and several papers about a practitioner-relevant approach to research for the social and behavioral sciences. She is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Illinois Child Welfare, a multidisciplinary, international journal dedicated to improving child welfare services. Her current interests focus on 1) effective psychotherapy for children and disadvantaged clients, and 2) social work models for international and culturally diverse, socially traumatized communities, especially collaborative community development and parent support programs.

Ref: I06P0391