The use of dialogical inquiry to acknowledge diversity when researching gratitude in indigenous cultures
Howells, KM, The use of dialogical inquiry to acknowledge diversity when researching gratitude in indigenous cultures, SAGE Research Methods Cases, Sage Publications Inc, United Kingdom, pp. 1-15. ISBN 9781473997851 (2017) [Research Book Chapter]
This case study explores some of the complexities and dilemmas raised for those wishing to
conduct research in indigenous cultures. In narrating experiences of researching the role of
gratitude in indigenous South Africa, a rich context is presented for contemplating not only
choice of methodology but how one positions oneself with "the other" in a country where there is strong political and cultural divisiveness. The case study provides resources for how one can navigate some of the challenges and recommends the methodology of dialogical inquiry as appropriate in cultures where one needs to be acutely aware of empowering those who have a history of disempowerment and for accessing the thinking of those who have a strong oral tradition. Using the concept of gratitude as an example, the case study illustrates that key to appropriate and effective research in indigenous cultures is strong acknowledgment of the rich dimensions of concepts that are already in place in indigenous cultures, and using this as the starting point for one’s investigation. As there has been very little research on the implications of cross-cultural understandings of gratitude for our teaching and learning pedagogy, this case study is positioned as an exploratory investigation. It points to the need for further examination of how we can appropriately access the differences in value and expressions of gratitude—or other concepts—in different cultures and the impact on the effectiveness of relationshipbuilding and appreciating cultural diversity in our educational communities.