Welcome to the ULC Minister's Network

Keisha Merchant

Searching for Answers--The Truth, Way and Life in Christ

  • Who defined the research problem?


    "Because of the way Maori society was structured, because of its unique world view, and because of its strong oral tradition, knowledge itself was never held to be universally available. " (Smith, 2008, pp.172)


    Who define the research problem?  I feel that epistemology is exactly what my project is about.  Who has the authority and right to justify knowledge and what is a knowledge or research problem?  I find that it is somewhat problematic to define research problems in the eyes of Western colonization because without research the advancement of science could not happen. Is it wrong that the sacrifice of many lives to genocide is right?  If you ask a die-hard scientist they would say in the name of science those lives were an offering to the globalization process of rite passage for those who are alive.


    What am I talking about?  In Smith, I learn that culture excuse "problems" for the greater good.  I was talking to a scientist, leaving out names, he said, "Keisha, the animals are meant for people."  In the eyes of a scientist, animals were meant to be experimented on for the greater good.  It was just recent times that grassroots organizations saw a conscious "conflict" with that methodology.  It took a very long process to reinvent science practices of experimentation and ethics.  As a culture, it is hard for our system to value the "them."  As long it is not "us" it is appropriate to claim, "the freedom to explore and claim."


    I find that problematic to change course as Smith suggests in the "ethics" because without experimentation, and the abuse of experimentation, we may lose the speed of discovery and advancement.  Do I believe in this personally, no, but as a scientist, this methodology and theory "make sense."  It is a quantitative approach to scientists to be logical not rational, but logical.  It is the discover method that is necessary in research and the purpose of scientist to find answers to problems, not find answers to the problems they create.


    I would like to end with this, in the analogy of science and music.  This is my favorite illustration.  The notes sit on a staff but the player must know the notes and those notes can be interpreted.  Otherwise, these notes, the staff and the instrument can be used completely different.  It is within the eyes of the player that make those adjustments, and so forth.  It is within this term, I have learned and over the journey of Women Studies that the perspectives and epistemology of science and research is not going to be the problem in its methodology.  It is those that practice within its framework that will become the issue.


    I feel that slavery was genocide, and that culture is extinct.  I do not see how anyone can accept that fact, but it is a historical fact that in the 21st century there is a remnant of that culture.  Does that mean research is correct in their calculations?  Or is mine correct?  The problem is not the answers in both theories, but the problem is the outcome of both of those answers.  Storytelling has a healing factor and a poisonous factor according to the Hopi and many Native American cultures.  It is evident that likewise I will leave with this that our knowledge will kill us or save us from our own appointment of death.  It will take a community to resolve this issue, and the process of research is just one instrument that will be used to give precision or a dagger.  It saddens me that I could possibly spend my whole life learning techniques that will be problematic for anyone including my own life.


    Smith touches on the "other" people, but she fail to realize, and I think I see this more in my own growth in education.  It is not what we are doing to others that is the problem, but what that effect will do to us as the roots grow from our own ignorance to see that our practices have more of a detrimental affect on us then on "them."  Slaves died from their oppressors’ genocide, but I find it problematic not to understand that death had already arrived in the oppressors the day they practice that method of genocide and research. Yes, this is a very strong and detail last response, but I want to share that reflections only can happen through research, deeply analyzing on what have been shown as "knowledge, the process of claiming and the story of that process," comes from one single moment of acknowledging the greater concern, the one in the mirror could be the totality of the methodology and that is problematic.