When attempting to do research with particular people or groups, I may face such problems as positionality, subjectivity and reflexivity of assumptions made on the basis of the research. This question is raised in the articles by Kathleen St. Louis and Janet Hinson Shope, who share their own experience of facing these problems when conducting a research.Kathleen St. Louis works as a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University. The research paper ‘Tales from the Science Education Crypt: Critical Reflection of Positionality, Subjectivity, and Reflexivity in Research’ comprises critical evaluation and improving the science education in poor urban regions.
In the introduction to the paper, the author sets forth the basis for the further research: over the past three years the researchers have been working with poor urban schools, particularly with poor minority parents to find out the relations and understandings around education among these parent and teachers with the aim of improving science education for marginalized students. One of the researchers, Kathleen, who worked closely with parents, contributed to emergence of two important questions for the researchers: the first is regarding the quality of research, which is influenced by researchers’ playing different social roles except for science, and the second is regarding the subjectivity of research. The struggle between the positions of a researcher and a marginalized parent becomes the first key point in the research and gives basis for the analysis of the positionality. The discussion on positionality is pulled out in this paper in order to reveal the subjectivity of the researcher’s work and serves as the stage for reflection. Then the researchers briefly describe the setting of their work, the methods of research, and characterize the parents they worked with. The discussion of the responsibility of research comes next, and the researchers also consider to what and to whom they turn their responsibility.
Further, they explore the ways of making assumptions and consider the impact of reflexivity and subjectivity on the ways of conducting a research. It is concluded that the challenges of trustworthiness are easy to overcome when the researchers remain reflexive during the whole research process in order to make and address the discoveries of trustworthiness (Louis, 2002). Another researcher, who has expanded on the topic of anti-racism and feminism, is Janet Hinson Shope, who works in Goucher College, Baltimore. In her cross-cultural research ‘You Can’t Cross a River Without Getting Wet’ she gives a fresh view on the feminist epistemology. The article discusses challenging methodological and epistemological issues that occurred in the process of conducting a research in South Africa, which studies rural communities. In the article, the author includes her entries from the field journal and cites conversations with Black women living in rural pastiches. The main idea of the article is to discuss the tension occurring between theory and personal experience, written and spoken ways of communication, insiders and outsiders. The feminist method does not reconcile the …