Local knowledge, global contexts: Mapping the terrain of qualitative research

Posted by on October 28, 2005

[posted from Community Arts Network newsletter]

“Local knowledge, global contexts: Mapping the terrain of qualitative research in the 21st Century,” 19th Annual Conference on Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies by Qualitative Interest Group, U. of Ga., Athens, Ga., January 6-8, 2006.

Technological innovations, the development of multinational corporate structures, and growth in transnational population flows have resulted in globally shifting political, economic, and social landscapes. Qualitative researchers have access to new methods of generating, analyzing and representing data, along with expanded opportunities for forming different kinds of research alliances with both other researchers and participants in studies. Yet, along with these opportunities come challenges. Political agendas impact the ways in which knowledge is produced, what research is valued, and how and what research findings are disseminated. With the promise of technology, come new ethical dilemmas. Transnational population flows allow for new spaces for understanding of difference, as well as possibilities for shifting discourses of intolerance. Given these contested sites of inquiry, we consider the following questions:

* How might qualitative researchers design and conduct ethical research with and about others?
* How do qualitative researchers use their local knowledge to understand global issues, such as transnational migration, racial and ethnic diversity, and religious difference?
* Who owns qualitative data? When should it be repatriated? What are the implications of repatriating data in non-Western countries?
* How might new technologies be used to generate, store, retrieve and analyze data? What research questions and topics might be asked about on-line environments, and new media and communication technologies? How are qualitative methods suited to the study of these environments?
* With the increasing commercialization of higher education, what are the implications of increasing pressures for the competitive search for research funding on the production of scholarly knowledge? How might qualitative researchers respond? What kinds of questions may be studied? What kinds of research methods are used? Whose voices are excluded?
* In the global economy, higher education is becoming a commodity for export. What are the implications for the field of qualitative research of the increasing number of students undertaking graduate studies in other countries? What issues are at stake for international students studying in other countries and conducting fieldwork in their native countries? What are the emergent issues globally for the preparation of qualitative researchers?


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