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Frustration/Revelation Series: Research as a Transformative Process: Methodology, Practice, and Positionality

Dr. Özge Yaka
Monday, March 22, 2021, 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

Conventional academic talks are about sharing the outcomes of research. This talk, however, will focus on the research itself, not as a vehicle to produce outcomes, but as a transformative process – which transforms both the conceptual frameworks and disciplinary identities of the researcher, and the way she positions herself within the intersubjective practice of knowledge production. Drawing on ethnographical research on local environmental movements against hydropower in Turkey, this talk aims to scrutinize the methodological decisions the researcher takes during the research process in regard to their significance in shifting the research’s focus and the researcher’s position. The question that will be specifically explored here is how a researcher, who comes to the research with previous knowledge and assumptions, could be open and flexible enough to encourage a mutual interaction between theory and data to take place, to produce unexpected results, i.e. the revelations. Dr. Yaka aims to discuss this based on her own experiences with reference to the transformation of her own research focus and conceptual frameworks within the research process, as her fieldwork led her to develop a feminist, body-centered perspective to explore the relations between gender, environment, and political agency. 

A discussion will follow the talk. The first three questions to open the discussion are reserved for undergraduate students.

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This lecture is part of the Frustration/Revelation speaker series organized by the Undergraduate Studies Program: Research can be characterized by long stretches of frustration and puzzlement, punctuated by occasional moments of revelation. This series focuses on exceptional scholars who will not deliver standard academic talks, but who will bring to life struggles faced when pursuing their research, how they came to study a specific topic, difficult choices made, failures, and then sometimes revelations - sudden or slowly accumulating - that have transformed how they view their research, their respective disciplines, and even the world at large. In the process, we also learn about academic disciplines and the kind of work scholars do in crafting their research.