Dissertation 3 of 4: Research Methods
"From the vantage point of the colonized, a position from which I write, and choose to privilege, the term 'research' is inextricably linked to European imperialism and colonialism. The word itself, 'research,' is probably one of the dirtiest words in the indigenous world's vocabulary." (Tuhiwai Smith, 1999)
Paula Moya, a Chicana researcher says, "identities are fundamental to the process of all knowledge production" (p. 102). Like Tuhiwai Smith, I must also embrace my identity as a colonized researcher.
Moya goes on to say that education, "should not be about merely inculcating status quo values," but to reject the status quo as a way to inculcate a "transformative multicultural education" that will educate all learners for democracy and social justice (p. 109).
The Alana Project, starting with this professional development course, which becomes my dissertation action research, sees transformative multicultural education as a hoped for outcome. Therefore, it is impossible to measure indigenous learning and indigenous transformation by using non-indigenous methods.
The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house ~ Audre Lord
As a Native Hawaiian researcher, I cannot take the outsider looking in research position, but to every task must bring my moʻokūʻauhau and my "mana" with me as both researcher and participant (Kahakalau, 2004).
The methodologies I will use are what feel natural to me, less invasive, less colonizing, more Hawaiian:
- Nānā ka maka; hoʻolohe ka pepeiao; paʻa ka waha. Observe with the eyes, listen with the ears, shut the mouth. Thus one learns (ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, 2268). Observation, as a Hawaiian research methodology is grounded in our proverbs as a way of learning and a way of living.
- Nānā i ke kumu. Look to the source. Indigenous knowledge is grounded for Hawaiians in kupuna knowledge. To look forward, to move forward, is to be guided by not just our kupuna, but also our place. This calls for a triangulation of multiple perspectives and multiple viewpoints.
- Nānā ka maka; hana ka lima. Observe with the eyes, work with the hands (ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, 2267). This methodology calls for the researcher to take an active participation in the community. It is not pono to sit around and take notes, but through the act of working alongside others, the talk story will flow when hands are busy. This idea of talk story is a more natural fit than a survey, and reveals much even within its more casual constructs.