Making Empowering Choices: How Methodology Matters for Empowering Research Participants

  • Karen Ross University of Massachusetts Boston
Keywords: empowerment, methodology, power imbalances, researcher-participant interactions, relationships, interviews


In this article, I explore methodological approaches to the research process that can potentially empower research participants. I examine empowerment as it arises in the context of specific interactions between researcher and participant within the research process, as well as more broadly as it encompasses choices made by researchers about their broader methodological approach. I suggest that in both cases, choices about methodology are central to creating spaces for participant empowerment. Drawing on examples from a project conducted with former participants in a joint Jewish-Palestinian encounter initiative in Israel, I highlight the potential for moments of empowerment when methodological choices disrupt traditional power imbalances in the research dynamic, but also address the limitations of these moments that are inherent in most research endeavors.


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Author Biography

Karen Ross, University of Massachusetts Boston

Karen ROSS is an assistant professor in the Conflict Resolution Programs at UMASS Boston. Her research focuses on questions at the intersection of grassroots peace-building, education, and social activism. She is particularly interested in methodological and conceptual issues related to assessing the impact of endeavors aimed at nonviolent social change.

How to Cite
Ross, K. (2017). Making Empowering Choices: How Methodology Matters for Empowering Research Participants. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 18(3).
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