Advertisement

Conducting Focus Groups in Terms of an Appreciation of Indigenous Ways of Knowing

  • Norma R. A. RommEmail author
Reference work entry

Abstract

This chapter offers deliberations around the facilitation of focus groups in a manner that takes into account Indigenous ways of knowing. Indigenous knowing (within various Indigenous cultural heritages) can be defined as linked to processes of people collectively constructing their understandings by experiencing their social being in relation to others. This chapter explores how the conduct of focus groups can be geared toward taking into account as well as strengthening knowing as a relational activity defined in this way. I suggest that once facilitators of focus groups appreciate this epistemology, they can set up a climate in which people feel part of a research process of relational discussion around issues raised. This requires an effort on the part of facilitators to make explicit the type of orientation to research that is being encouraged via the focus group session to participants. In this chapter, I offer an illustrative example of an attempt to practice such an approach to facilitation in a rural setting in South Africa.

Keywords

Indigenous ways of knowing Collective exploration as relational Facilitator orientation Focus group research Participant feedback 

Notes

Acknowledgement

This chapter is based on my article that appeared in January 2015 in Forum: Qualitative Social Research (FQS), 16, 1, Article 2. The article was entitled: Conducting Focus Groups in Terms of an Appreciation of Indigenous Ways of Knowing: Some Examples from South Africa. Permission was granted by Katja Mruck – editor of FQS – on 31 May 2016. She stated (by email) that “all FQS texts are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License,” which means that I have the copyright for use of the material.

References

  1. Ansell AE. Two nations of discourse: mapping racial ideologies in post-apartheid South Africa. In: Coates RD, Dennis RM, editors. The new black: alternative paradigms and strategies for the 21st century. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2007. p. 307–36.Google Scholar
  2. Austin W. Addressing ethical issues in participatory research: the primacy of relationship. In: Higginbottom G, Liamputtong P, editors. Participatory qualitative research methodologies in health. London: Sage; 2015. p. 22–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chilisa B. Indigenous research methodologies. London: Sage; 2012.Google Scholar
  4. Cisneros RT, Hisijara BA. A social systems approach to global problems. Cincinnati: Institute for 21st Century Agoras; 2013.Google Scholar
  5. Clavering EK, McLaughlin J. Crossing multidisciplinary divides: exploring professional hierarchies and boundaries in focus groups. Qual Health Res. 2007;17(3):400–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Colucci E. On the use of focus groups in cross-cultural research. In: Liamputtong P, editor. Doing cross-cultural research: ethical and methodological perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer; 2008. p. 233–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Denzin NK, Lincoln YS. Introduction: critical methodologies and indigenous inquiry. In: Denzin NK, Lincoln YS, Smith LT, editors. Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2008. p. 1–20.Google Scholar
  8. Dickson-Swift V, James EL, Kippen S, Liamputtong P. Blurring boundaries in qualitative health research on sensitive topics. Qual Health Res. 2006;16(6):853–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Farnsworth J, Boon B. Analyzing group dynamics within the focus group. Qual Res. 2010;10(5):605–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Flood RL, Romm NRA. From metatheory to multimethodology. In: Mingers J, Gill A, editors. Multimethodology. Chichester: Wiley; 1997. p. 291–322.Google Scholar
  11. Goduka, N. (2012). Re-discovering indigenous knowledge – ulwaziLwemveli for strengthening sustainable livelihood opportunities within rural contexts in the Eastern Cape Province. Indilinga Afr J Indig Knowl Syst, 11(1),1-19.Google Scholar
  12. Gray PS, Williamson JB, Karp DA, Dalphin JR. The research imagination: an introduction to qualitative and quantitative methods. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gregory WJ, Romm NRA. Facilitation as fair intervention. In: Midgley G, Ochoa-Arias A, editors. Community operational research: OR and systems thinking for community development. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers; 2004. p. 157–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hallen B. A short history of African philosophy. Bloomington: Indiana University Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  15. Harris L-D, Wasilewski J. Indigeneity, an alternative worldview: four R’s (relationship, responsibility, reciprocity, redistribution) vs. two P’s (power and profit): sharing the journey towards conscious evolution. Syst Res Behav Sci. 2004;21:489–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Higginbottom G, Liamputtong P. What is participatory research? Why do it? In: Higginbottom G, Liamputtong P, editors. Participatory qualitative research methodologies in health. London: Sage; 2015. p. 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hollander JA. The social contexts of focus groups. J Contemp Ethnogr. 2004;33(5):602–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kiguwa P. Social constructionist accounts of intergroup relations and identity. In: Ratele K, editor. Inter-group relations: South African perspectives. Cape Town: Juta; 2006. p. 111–36.Google Scholar
  19. Kovach M. Indigenous methodologies: Characteristics, conversations, and contexts. Toronto: University of Toronto Press; 2009.Google Scholar
  20. Ladson-Billings G. Racialized discourses and ethnic epistemologies. In: Denzin NK, Lincoln YS, editors. The landscape of qualitative research: theories and issues. 2nd ed. London: Sage; 2003. p. 398–432.Google Scholar
  21. Liamputtong P. Doing research in a cross-cultural context: methodological and ethical challenges. In: Liamputtong P, editor. Doing cross-cultural research: ethical and methodological perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer; 2008. p. 3–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liamputtong P. Performing qualitative cross-cultural research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Liamputtong P. Focus group methodology: principles and practice. London: Sage; 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lincoln YS, Guba EG. The constructivist credo. Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press; 2013.Google Scholar
  25. Magnat V. Performative approaches to interdisciplinary and cross cultural research. In: Smith L-H, Narayan A, editors. Research beyond borders. Plymouth: Lexington Books; 2012. p. 157–77.Google Scholar
  26. Mapotse TA. The teaching practice of senior phase technology education teachers in selected schools of Limpopo province: an action research study. Unpublished Doctor of Education thesis. Pretoria: University of South Africa; 2012.Google Scholar
  27. McIntyre-Mills J. Global citizenship and social movements: creating transcultural webs of meaning for the new millennium. Amsterdam: Harwood; 2000.Google Scholar
  28. McIntyre-Mills J. From Wall Street to wellbeing. New York: Springer; 2014.Google Scholar
  29. Mertens DM, Bazeley P, Bowleg L, Fielding N, Maxwell J, Molina-Azorin JF, Niglas K. Thinking through a kaleidoscopic look into the future. J Mixed Method Res. 2016;10(3):221–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Midgley G. Theoretical pluralism in systemic action research. Syst Pract Action Res. 2011;24:1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Minkler M. Linking science and policy through community-based participatory research to study and address health disparities. Am J Public Health. 2010;100(S1):81–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Mkandawire-Valhmu L, Stevens PE. The critical value of focus group discussions in research with women living with HIV in Malawi. Qual Health Res. 2010;20(5):684–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Morgan DL. Focus group interviewing. In: Gubrium JF, Holstein JA, editors. Handbook of interview research. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2002. p. 141–59.Google Scholar
  34. Naidoo K. Poverty and socio-political transition: perceptions in four racially demarcated residential sites in Gauteng. Dev South Afr. 2011;28(5):627–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ndimande BS. Decolonizing research in post-apartheid South Africa. Qual Inq. 2012;18(3):215–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nicholls R. Research and indigenous participation: critical reflexive methods. Int J Soc Res Methodol. 2009;12(2):117–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Osei-Hwedie K. Afro-centrism: the challenge of social development. Soc Work. 2007;43(2):106–16.Google Scholar
  38. Ossai NB. African indigenous knowledge systems (AIKS). Simbiosis. 2010;7(2):1–13.Google Scholar
  39. Pollack J. Pyramids or silos: alternative representations of the systems thinking paradigms. Syst Pract Action Res. 2006;19:383–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Quan-Baffour KP, Romm NRA. Ubuntu-inspired training of adult literacy teachers as a route to generating “community” enterprise. J Lit Res. 2015;46(4):455–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Rajagopalan R. Immersive systemic knowing: rational analysis and beyond. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Hull, Kingston; 2016.Google Scholar
  42. Rodriguez KJ, Schwartz JL, Lahman MKE, Geist MR. Culturally responsive focus groups: reframing the research experience to focus on participants. Int J Qual Methods. 2011;10(4):400–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Romm NRA. Caricaturing and categorizing in processes of argument. Sociol Res Online. 1998;3. http://www.socresonline.org.uk/socresonline/3/2/10.html. Accessed 6 Jan 1999.
  44. Romm NRA. Accountability in social research: issues and debates. New York: Springer; 2001.Google Scholar
  45. Romm NRA. Issues of accountability in survey, ethnographic, and action research. In: Rwomire A, Nyamnjoh FB, editors. Challenges and responsibilities of social research in Africa: ethical issues. Addis Ababa: The Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA); 2007. p. 51–76.Google Scholar
  46. Romm NRA. New racism: revisiting researcher accountabilities. New York: Springer; 2010.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Romm NRA. Reviewing the transformative paradigm: a critical systemic and relational (Indigenous) lens. Syst Pract Action Res. 2015;28:411–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Romm NRA. Researching indigenous ways of knowing-and-being: revitalizing relational quality of living. In: Ngulube P, editor. Handbook of research on theoretical perspectives on indigenous knowledge systems in developing countries. Pennsylvania: IGI Global Publications; 2016. p. 22–48.Google Scholar
  49. Romm NRA, Nel NM, Tlale LDN. Active facilitation of focus groups: exploring the implementation of inclusive education with research participants. South Afr J Educ. 2013;33(4):1–14. Article #811CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Serequeberhan T. Our heritage. New York: Rowman and Littlefield; 2000.Google Scholar
  51. Vannini A, Gladue C. Decolonized methodologies in cross-cultural research. In: Liamputtong P, editor. Doing cross-cultural research: ethical and methodological perspectives. Dordrecht: Springer; 2008. p. 137–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Wane N. [Re]Claiming my indigenous knowledge: challenges, resistance, and opportunities. Decoloniz Indig Educ Soc. 2013;2(1):93–107.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Adult Education and Youth DevelopmentUniversity of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations