Assumptions about truth can be dangerous in any research because they can lead to bias shaping the research: a researcher may suffer from confirmation bias, seeking only the type of answers that align with his assumptions (Nickerson, 1998). Objectivity and subjectivity, therefore, are important to consider when conducting research, just as deriving the correct interpretation of the meaning of collected data is important. Objectivity, subjectivity and meaning are interconnected, as both objectivity and subjectivity will feed in to how meaning is understood. Every person is capable of being both objective and of having a subjective experience at the same time. Being mindful of how one’s subjective experience can shape one’s perspective is critical to being as objective as possible.
Potential concerns for this study consist of the risk of researcher bias and confirmation bias intruding up on the methodology. Removing researcher bias and preventing confirmation bias are critical for maintaining the integrity of the study and in assuring that the study has credibility and trustworthiness. Data triangulation can help to achieve this aim, but it is also important for the researcher to state up front what he expects to find so that he can “bracket out” his bias, as recommended by Johnston, Wallis, Oprescu and Gray (2017). By stating expectations, beliefs, and assumptions up front, the researcher is able to bracket out potential bias and remove them from the approach to collecting data as objectively as possible. The intention is not to find data that proves a hypothesis but rather to let data emerge organically to paint a picture that can then be studied and interpreted using the theoretical model employed. Bracketing out bias can be accomplished “by identifying and suspending preconceptions and being open to the data” (Smith & McSweeney, 2017, p. 292). This will allow for the researcher to resist inserting himself into the data collection and analysis process and simply allow the threads to appear as they do and follow them and analyze them according to the criteria stipulated in the methodology.
Being upfront about one’s subjective assumptions can help to allow the actual meaning of facts to emerge through the data collection process as well. One can approach a subject with a sense of what the meaning of things already is—so it is important in this case for the researcher to state those ideas up front and to allow the reader to understand the researcher’s own background and where he is coming from. This will give the reader the chance to see that the researcher already has some meaning of events in mind and that he aims to build on that meaning or change it as necessitated by the facts that are encountered.
Stuck Writing Your "Africa and Cultural Studies" Research Proposal?
When researchers design and conduct research they have to be mindful about what they perceive the truth to be—because there is an objective truth and a subjective truth, and both have to be considered. The objective truth is what one sees: it is the awareness of the facts as they are, without interpreting them or applying a judgment to them; it is just a statement of the facts. The subjective truth is how one experiences those facts—how one interprets them. It is out of that interpretation that meaning is derived. However, one can strive to make one’s interpretation as objective as possible by describing the theoretical lens through which one is looking. The researcher can describe the process by which the data is analyzed and defined. This helps the research to take on a more objective character and quality. The more that one uses different data sources, too, the more one can make the study more credible and trustworthy—this is what is meant by triangulating data: using two or more sources of information instead of collecting all the data from one source, which could lead to a highly biased presentation of meaning.
As Moyo (2009) shows, the state of Africa today is such that the Aid promised to the country and given is simply not an effective source of strength and stability from Africans: “sub-Saharan Africa remains the poorest region in the world” (p. 5). This research design is going to be a case study to explore the role of….....
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