De-westernising research methodologies: Alternative approaches to research for higher education curricula in developing countries
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Citation:Papoutsaki, E. (2006, November). De-westernising research methodologies: Alternative approaches to research for higher education curricula in developing countries. Paper presented at the Second Colloquium of the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge, Paris.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:http://hdl.handle.net/10652/1502
This paper looks at the impact of western research methods in training researchers in developing countries and how much of the research carried out in universities in developing countries is directly relevant to their needs and suitable to their socio-cultural context. The paper focuses on research utility, which looks at research quality from a society's or a region's specific knowledge needs, placing attention on external factors such as the value of western education, knowledge and research methods and the role of foreign research training. The author is particularly interested in looking at alternative perspectives that reflect different socio-cultural contexts that can inform relevant research approaches alternative to the predominant western research paradigms. It also discusses how higher education institutions can promote research as part of their curricula in ways that nurture local research. The paper is informed through emerging literature from different parts of the world that is affirming the existence or the potential for developing alternative ways of learning and distinctive understandings of local knowledge and the need to make them part of formal educational curricula. There is a need to build on this work and encourage young local researchers to provide their insights on the role of research in their countries development and encourage them to seek local alternatives to studying their cultures and societies. There is also a need to acknowledge the significance of indigenous perspectives on research and discuss how to strengthen them through at Higher Education level and re-examine western research methods as they reinforce dependency and unfit solutions to development for local cultures. It is argued that research is one of the ways in which the underlying code of western dominance as it is now expressed through globalisation and neo-colonialism is both regulated and realized. ‘Development' is included in the argument as the paper refers to developing countries mostly and most research in these countries is linked to or has an impact on development. Examples will be drawn mostly from the south pacific and the field of communication research. The author suggests that more emphasis and efforts should be put on fostering a locally informed research culture at an undergraduate level by creating curricula that are based on local knowledge systems and encouraging young people to be more involved in their communities as active participants in the research process.