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Designing Community Participatory Action Research: A Proposal for Using Photovoice Method to Center Indigenous Knowledge

By: Published: 2016 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 1
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I am a White, upper-middle-class woman working as a university-affiliated professor and researcher in northern Idaho in the United States. This case explores how these statuses may present challenges as someone who is designing research that aims to support members of an Indigenous population as they seek to transform their community. This is an exciting opportunity, but the history of academic research of Indigenous populations, and other marginalized groups, is fraught with perpetuating power relations where majority populations—that are reflected in the multiple statuses I hold—determine what is important to know and speak for those who seek to be understood and heard. The research Indigenous collaborators and I have designed photovoice method as part of a community participatory action project. Photovoice, though, is not the only means for trying to overcome the power relations inherent to academic research. Instead, the researcher must practice reflexivity—a self-examination of one's statuses and the ways of thinking that come with those statuses that may obscure the knowledge people from the margins possess.

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