Article

Rejecting the Null: Research and Social Justice Means Asking Different Questions

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Abstract

The focus of this article is on the specific ethical issues related to social justice research and the practical implications of engaging in social justice research, including the potential impact of research results on practice, policy, and advocacy at the local and national level. Specific recommendations are offered, including identifying research questions that advance social justice, managing researcher bias and power differentials, improving research methodologies, disseminating research, and giving back and advocating for social justice concerns.

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... This innovation requires selecting and revising research methodologies to align with the goals of multicultural and social justice research. Specifically, traditional counseling research has functioned to privilege dominant views of knowledge and typically uses homogeneous samples to address research questions that are limited in scope, yielding inequitable participation in the research process and distant implications for clients-particularly for clients of color (Chapman & Schwartz, 2012;Fassinger & Morrow, 2013;Snow et al., 2016). Thus, innovation in counseling research involves problematizing the prevailing understanding, function, and practice of it: Counselors should decolonize current practices to yield more effective research processes and outcomes for an increasingly diverse clientele. ...
... The two areas of focus where multicultural and social justicecompetent counselors foster a more refined understanding of research participant worldview is by including more complex research questions and using appropriate assessment tools as part of the research design. First, research questions should be driven by the needs of the community (Chapman & Schwartz, 2012). Furthermore, research questions should be broad to explore heterogeneity in terms of maximizing representation within social categories and experiences of power, leading to new answers within the field (Else-Quest & Hyde, 2016). ...
... Related to participant social location, counselor educators can maximize participant voice by reflecting on several questions in class discussions and research activities (e.g., Chapman & Schwartz, 2012;Drawson et al., 2017;Gutierrez et al., 2016;Hart et al., 2017;Shin et al., 2016). Sample reflection questions are as follows: (a) who should develop the research design and why; (b) who should benefit from research and in what ways; (c) how can counselors and counselor educators design research to maximize research benefit; (d) what are the unintended consequences of research for researchers and participants; (e) how can counselors and counselor educators work closely with participants and other partners to maximize research collaboration and sustained partnerships; (f) how can they remove a cultural/individual deficit approach to explaining systemic phenomena as applicable; and (g) how does the researcher move away from a focus on individual remediation to examining institutional practices and systems that contribute to mental distress and other counseling-related phenomena? ...
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The development of the Multicultural and Social Justice Counseling Competencies (Ratts, Singh, Nassar‐McMillan, Butler, & McCullough, 2015) provides a framework to reflect upon previous scholarship and explore further approaches for methodological innovation in counseling. The author presents available counseling and interdisciplinary scholarship related to multicultural and social justice competency, identifies gaps and future research directions of that research, and proposes innovative strategies and methods for conducting rigorous multicultural and social justice research. Implications for preparing future counseling scholars are also included.
... The role of the researcher in qualitative inquiry is intrinsic to the success of the study and includes the following considerations: reflexivity, "voice" of participants, subjectivity, the use of a research team, and peer debriefing (Hays & Singh, 2012;Williams & Morrow, 2009). When using the CQR methodology with fidelity, researchers inherently operate from a social justice paradigm given the way they connect with participants and robustly capture participants' voices (Chapman & Schwartz, 2012;Hill, 2012). Furthermore, the researchers must actively self-reflect on their biases, values, personal background, and history that may shape their interpretations during a study (Creswell, 2009;Hays & Singh, 2012). ...
... Consensus. Hill et al. (2005) and Hill (2012) maintained that an important part of CQR is consensus, which relies on mutual respect, equal involvement, and shared power, tenets underpinning the social justice priorities within CQR methodology (Chapman & Schwartz, 2012). The consensus process in CQR has been shown to improve decision quality and involves multiple viewpoints and interpretations while unraveling the complexities of the data. ...
... In fact, the rationale for sharing power is that researcher bias is inevitable in qualitative inquiry. Therefore, by sharing power, various research team members can discuss and appreciate the various perspectives of participants for better practice (Chapman & Schwartz, 2012). Hill et al. (2005) and Hill (2012) note that biases may arise from several different sources such as demographic characteristics of the research team or in values and beliefs about the topic. ...
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... According to Hays (2020), researchers who engage in multicultural and social justice research employ culturally appropriate research designs, address aspects of social privilege and power within the counselling relationship and use research as a means of advocacy. Advocacy in research seeks to empower clients and address existing barriers that contribute to inequitable mental health and services and lead to poorer therapeutic outcomes (Chapman & Schwartz, 2012;Kozan & Blustein, 2018;Ramirez Stege et al., 2017;Shin et al., 2016). Now more than ever, the importance for counsellors to identify and challenge underlying attitudes and beliefs that may contribute to the endorsement of racial stereotypes and White supremacy cannot be understated. ...
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Bayesian racism is the belief that it is rational to discriminate against people based on existing racial stereotypes. The presence of Bayesian racism is strongly associated with negative feelings about minoritized groups and the desire to maintain racially inequitable social hierarchies. A confirmatory factor analysis on the Bayesian Racism Scale (BRS) yielded a unidimensional measure for assessing prejudicial attitudes that endorse stereotypes based on racial and ethnic groups. Findings from the study have important implications for multicultural and social justice research.
... No mention was made of social justice goals of research, or the authenticity of findings (i.e., potential fraud)-topics that have received increasing attention within the psychology research community (Chapman, & Schwartz, 2012;Hartgerink, & Wicherts, 2016;Nosek, Alter, et al., 2015). It is possible that such themes would be identifiable in a larger sample of review texts. ...
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... This is especially the case when participating communities are constructed by themselves and/or by others as marginalised and othered in specific ways (see for exampleBishop, 2011). For instance, this might entail asking certain kinds of research questions and avoiding others that intentionally or otherwise replicate that community's marginality and otherness (Chapman & Schwartz, 2012).The framework that is articulated in the paper is based on the principles of CHE (connectivity, humanness and empathy) (Reushle, 2005;Brown & Reushle, 2010). ...
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Transformative research and evaluation
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  • D. Choudhuri
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