Transformative research: personal and societal

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Transformative researchers have the potential to contribute to both personal and societal transformation. In this article, I argue that the two are intertwined and that personal transformation is a necessary component of research that is designed to support change at the societal level in the form of furthering human rights and social justice. I describe a transformative framework that examines assumptions related to ethics, the nature of reality, epistemology, and methodology that can guide researchers who choose to address both the personal and societal levels of transformation. Ethically, researchers need to examine who they are and who they are in relation to the community in which they are working. This process goes beyond self-examination to a critical analysis of the cultural blinders that might obscure our ability to contribute to positive impacts. I put forth the hypothesis that if we design our research so that it explicitly addresses issues of discrimination and oppression that the probability of personal and social transformation increases.

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