Qualitative Research with Historically Oppressed Populations: Using Cultural Attunement Across the Research Lifecycle

Drawing from the therapeutic construct of cultural attunement (Jackson and Samuels, 2019), this course explores how qualitative researchers can conceive and implement meaningful research that matters to the lives of individuals, families, and/or communities from historically oppressed racial and ethnic groups. Participants will engage principles associated with designing socially just and culturally attuned qualitative methods, including principles of critical reflexivity and cultural safety and humility across all phases of a research study. More specifically, the course will engage these objectives:

  • To understand the power dynamics in the research relationship and to mitigate imbalances through strategies of critical reflexivity, decentering, transparency, reciprocity, and accountability.
  • To understand and articulate research stance and positionality to strengthen the researchers’ cultural attunement.
  • To reflect upon ethics and anti-oppressive practices to collaboratively develop research with, rather than on individuals, families, and/or communities from historically oppressed racial/ethnic groups.
  • To engage in experiential learning exercises that facilitate opportunities for participants to better understand their vantage point as both research insiders and outsiders.
  • To produce thoughtful and provocative analyses that challenge dominant narratives by centering the diverse life stories of historically oppressed racial/ethnic individuals, families, groups, and/or communities.
  • To recognize and prevent social justice fatigue within the current socio-political context.

Jackson, K. F. & Samuels, G. M. (2019). Multiracial Cultural Attunement. Washington DC: NASW Press.