Changing Lives through Qualitative Research: Some Practical Principles and Practices for Advocacy
Keywords:qualitative research, advocacy, empowerment, humanization, discrimination, marginalized groups
Research in social sciences is or at least should be, primarily about improving people’s lives. This is especially important in qualitative research. It is not uncommon to find many qualitative research books and articles encouraging qualitative researchers to give voice to participants who do not have any. In the literature, one branch that is concerned with this specific ethical duty of qualitative researchers is advocacy or advocating. While some qualitative research books and articles have referred to advocacy in passing, it is not a topic that is frequently discussed in the qualitative research fora, despite its significant importance. This paper defines what advocacy is, its importance in qualitative research, and the challenges of advocating. The ultimate goal of this paper is to discuss effective ways of advocating through qualitative research. This is especially important when conducting qualitative research with alienated, marginalized, dehumanized, and powerless groups of people.