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Educational Research for Social Change

On-line version ISSN 2221-4070


ROMM, Norma R. A.. Justifying Research as Conscious Intervention in Social and Educational Life: Activating Transformative Potential. Educ. res. soc. change [online]. 2020, vol.9, n.2, pp.1-15. ISSN 2221-4070.

In this article, I expand on Mertens' advocacy of the transformative paradigm for social research, where research is consciously geared to the advancement of social justice. I indicate certain links with Indigenous paradigmatic approaches to "knowing," where legitimate knowing is rooted in a quest to enhance relationality in the web of relations in which we as knowers and actors are enmeshed. In considering how we might justify associating knowing with transformative-directed (interventionist) intent, I suggest that the justification rests on us recognising that the research enterprise is always more or less consciously implicated in the continuing unfolding of the worlds of which it is a part. I spell out what is involved in recognising that research is world shaping. I furthermore propose that taking a transformative perspective on the research enterprise allows us to reinterpret other paradigmatic positions (e.g., constructivism, and critical realism, and even some renditions of postpositivism) by looking at their potential to cater for an inquiry process that enables participants, concerned stakeholders, and wider audiences to participate in envisioning and enacting possibilities for enhancing the quality of our existence. I provide some examples from the educational arena.

Keywords : Transformation-oriented research; collective responsibility; evolving research paradigms; reality as becoming; research as world shaping.

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