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Taking Subjectivity and Reflexivity Seriously: Implications of Social Constructionism for Researching Volunteer Motivation

  • Emma Weenink
  • Todd BridgmanEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

This paper explores the contributions a social constructionist paradigm can make for researching volunteer motivation, by reflecting on an active membership study of volunteer netball coaches at a New Zealand high school. Social constructionism is based on philosophical assumptions which differ from those of positivism and post-positivism, the dominant paradigms for understanding and representing volunteer motivation. It highlights the social processes through which people give meaning to their motives and view researchers as necessarily implicated in this meaning-making process. Through a critique of the extant literature on volunteer motivation and an illustration of the insights of social constructionism from our empirical study, we consider how volunteer motivation research could be different if subjectivity and reflexivity were taken more seriously.

Keywords

Volunteer research Motivation Social constructionism Sport Youth 

Résumé

Le présent article explore les effets qu’un paradigme constructiviste social peut avoir sur les recherches axées sur la motivation des bénévoles en évaluant une étude sur l’adhésion active d’entraîneurs de netball bénévoles d’un lycée néo-zélandais. Le constructivisme social se base sur des hypothèses philosophiques différentes de celles du positivisme et du post-positivisme, soit les paradigmes dominants derrière la compréhension et la représentation de la motivation bénévole. Il définit les processus sociaux par lesquels les individus accordent du sens à leurs motifs et perçoit les chercheurs comme des intervenants nécessaires de ce processus de recherche de sens. Dans le cadre d’une critique de la documentation existante sur la motivation bénévole et de l’illustration des données sur le constructivisme social tirées de notre étude empirique, nous considérons en quoi notre recherche pourrait différer si nous prenions la subjectivité et la réflexivité plus au sérieux.

Zusammenfassung

Diese Abhandlung betrachtet eine aktive Mitgliederstudie von ehrenamtlichen Netballtrainern an einer neuseeländischen Highschool, um zu erforschen, wie ein soziales konstruktivistisches Paradigma zur Forschung der Motivation von Ehrenamtlichen beitragen kann. Dem Sozialkonstruktivismus liegen philosophische Annahmen zugrunde, die sich von denen des Positivismus und des Postpositivismus, den dominanten Paradigmen zum Verständnis und zur Darstellung der Motivation Ehrenamtlicher, unterscheiden. Er betont die sozialen Prozesse, mittels derer Personen ihren Motiven Bedeutung verleihen, und erachtet Forscher als an diesem bedeutungsgebenden Prozess zwangsläufig beteiligte Akteure. Mittels einer kritischen Abhandlung der vorhandenen Literatur zur Motivation Ehrenamtlicher und einer Illustration der Erkenntnisse zum Sozialkonstruktivismus aus unserer empirischen Studie stellen wir Überlegungen dazu an, wie Forschungsarbeiten anders ausfallen könnten, wenn man Subjektivität und Reflexivität ernster nähme.

Resumen

El presente documento explora las contribuciones que un paradigma construccionista social puede hacer a la investigación de la motivación del voluntario, reflexionando sobre un estudio de participación activa de entrenadores de netball voluntarios en una escuela secundaria de Nueva Zelanda. El construccionismo social se basa en supuestos filosóficos que difieren de los del positivismo y del pospositivismo, los paradigmas dominantes para comprender y representar la motivación del voluntario. Subraya los procesos sociales mediante los cuales las personas dan significado a sus motivos y ve a los investigadores como necesariamente implicados en este proceso de construcción de significados. Mediante una crítica del material publicado existente sobre motivación del voluntario y una ilustración de las percepciones del construccionismo social a partir de un estudio empírico, consideramos cómo nuestra investigación podría ser diferente si tomásemos la subjetividad y la reflexividad más seriamente.

摘要

本文通过新西兰中学网球教练志愿者活跃成员研究的回顾信息,探讨了社会建构主义学习理论范例对研究志愿动机的贡献。社会建构主义学习理论基于不同于实证主义和后实证主义的哲学假设,后者是理解和代表志愿动机的范例。它重点突出了人们赋予其动机以意义的社会过程,并认为研究人员必然参与了这一价值主导型过程。通过对志愿动机的现存文献批判以及根据我们的实证研究证明社会建构主义学习理论观点,我们认为,如果我们更加重视主观性和反思性,我们的研究会有何不同。

要約

本稿では、構築主義的パラダイムがニュージーランドの高校におけるボランティアのネットボール・コーチの会員研究を構築主義的パラダイムが反映させて、ボランティアのモチベーション研究に貢献する。社会構成主義は、これらの実証主義とポスト実証主義の理解とボランティアの動機を示して理解する支配的なパラダイムとは異なる哲学的前提に基づいている。社会的なプロセスでは、人々は動機に意味を与えて、研究者を意味作成プロセスに必ずしも関与しないとみていることを強調する。ボランティアの動機に関する現存する文献批判と社会構築主義の実証的研究の洞察力の図から、主観や再帰をより真剣に考察することで、本研究がいかに異なるかを調査する。

ملخص

تفحص هذه المقالة مساهمات نموذج إجتماعي بنائي الذي يمكن أن يبحث دوافع المتطوعين، من خلال التفكير في دراسة العضوية العاملة من متطوعين مدربين كرة الشبكة في مدرسة ثانوية في نيوزيلندا. يستند المفهوم الإجتماعي على الإفتراضات الفلسفية التي تختلف عن تلك الفلسفة الوضعية وما بعد الفلسفة الوضعية، والنماذج السائدة لفهم وعرض دافع المتطوعين. يسلط الضوء على العمليات الإجتماعية التي من خلالها الناس تعطي معنى لدوافعهم و تراجع الباحثين كمشترك بالضرورة في إجراء صنع المعنى. من خلال نقد أدب موجود على دافع المتطوعين وكمثال على ذلك من وجهات نظر المفهوم الإجتماعي من دراسة تجريبية لدينا، و نأخذ في الإعتبار كيف أن بحثنا يمكن أن يكون مختلف لو أخذنا الذاتية والإنعكاسية أكثر جدية

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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