In outlining the author’s experiences as a researcher and as an individual who engages with persons with a disability, the author wonders what meaningful research means when research subjects are people that society lumps together, largely views as stigmatized, and does not seem to understand. The author also notes how the research journey has impacted the author as an individual in rather unexpected ways. The paper aims to discuss this issues.
The author notes her personal experiences which can help all of us surface and think through our attempts at meaning-making through research.
When we do not quite understand our research subjects, the syntax of our thoughts can be dictated by our institutional contexts, and it is likely that we capture and feed the period’s dominant assumptions back into the context.
The author’s journey has been marked with worries, and has taught the author humility and acceptance. It has taught the author how we need to understand the subjects as whole beings, our institutional setting as it predisposes us to organize our research worlds, and our own biases as a researcher. Learning this is especially important for all of us when we study stigmatized subjects because definitions, measurement, and how we showcase a collective have implications for individual human beings.
The author thanks the teacher, Professor Mark Lengnick-Hall, for initiating the author’s interest in this research stream.
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