Inevitably when researching our participants may come from different races and cultures who will bring their racial and cultural perspectives to the research. both directly and indirectly to the study as it is part of them. It is easy to think that unless these are the focus of the study then this is not significant but it is especially within relational research. If the aim is to more deeply understand peoples worlds through their eyes with a view to learning to care better then that persons race and culture is an essential and key part of that, whether it is the primary focus of the research question
Also significant is the cultural bias the researcher will bring. Within the Western World research is predominantly carried out within a Western/ Eurocentric framework, that is written throughout the research methodology that is deemed acceptable
This can lead to any other cultural perspectives being seen as less 'valid,' through the lens of Eurocentrism, which is predominantly unconscious.
If we are researching with people of multiple ethnicities and cultures then the researcher must also consider the moral and ethical implications of potentially imposing Eurocentric research methodology. Historically different ethnicities and cultures have been dealt a cruel and oppressive hand by Western research, which has led to many biased and oppressive policies, assumptions and fuelling of unconscious biases that have been extremely detrimental. Therefore extra reflection, consideration and consultation should be taken in this area.
As researchers with children and young people another cultural consideration is that of childism and how children whether we are researching children from an adult perspective only or whether we are truly researching with and for children
Below are brief explanations of some of the vast range of cultural perspectives that must be considered in ethical research
'When indigenous people become researchers and not merely the researched, the activity of research is transformed. Questions are phrased differently, priorities are ranked differently, problems are defined differently and people participate on different terms.'
Smith 1999, cited in Zavala 1,p.59
Africentric research focuses on centring the lens of the research through African viewpoints, culture, values and an entirely African perspective, not just viewing them through a Eurocentric perspective. Asante claimed that for research to be considered truly Africentric, it must embrace three beliefs
Hidden, subtle and overt and covert racist theories hidden within methodologies must be uncovered and rooted out.
African ideals and values should be 'legitimised,' as a valid frame of reference for both obtaining and analysing data, without it being seen as inferior.
The inquiry must be rooted in a strict interpretation of place.
(Reviere, 2001, p712)
Ubuntu-based research suggests aLl individuals should understand, acknowledge and encourage the maintenance of community so that it encourages pursuit of communal uplift (Reverie, 2001) It is an approach that requires both intro and retrospection.
It challenges the Eurocentric, scientifically dominated white research methodology and seeks to claim back African knowledge and wisdom at the heart of its practice
Asiacentrism is defined at
The centrality of collective Asia and Asiana in the process of knowledge and reconstruction about the whole Asian World
That Asian cultural values and beliefs are the centre of enquiry.
The assertion of Asians as agents
It was defined from Miike that Asiscentricity was, 'essentially the idea of being deep and open, rooted in our own culture yet at the same time open to other cultures.'
'A person's a person no matter how small.'
Dr Suess, Horton Hears and Who
One of the biggest prejudices and biases when researching children and young people is childism. Childism is defined as prejudice against children as a group that legitimises and rationalises multiple micro and macro-aggressions against children based on the idea that adults know best and that children are property to be controlled to fit into an adult world and suit adult needs.
From a research point of view, childism can be seen in studies that are designed to subject children to something, of not communicating properly with children, the purpose and outcomes and in adopting a hierarchical position that the researcher as an adult knows best and that children's input is something to be considered to tick the box that says you have done research in a child-centred way.
When researching there are countless examples of childism that you will hear from adults involved with children, which is always a good discussion point to think about in the outcomes when thinking of extraneous variables that might affect the results.
Predominantly our research takes place within a Eurocentric paradigm. Eurocentrism is based on Western values and characteristics, based on things we value, such as individualism, competitiveness, class structure etc.
By judging other non-European descended individuals through a eurocentric lens then this cam often leads to negative beliefs, assumptions and stereotypes that actively harm. Within research, the methodology that is considered to be the gold standard is predominantly quantitative and is embedded in a strong Eurocentric perspective, which further increases inequalities for those that are not of European descent.
Any piece of research conducted without due care and attention is issues of Eurocentrism will have a covert Eurocentric bias.