Collaborative Methodologies: Why, How, and for Whom?
By Pamina Firchow, Brandeis University & Mneesha Gellman, Emerson College
What does it mean to collaborate with people affected by issues of interest to social science researchers? How can political scientists approach the people they study as research collaborators, rather than research subjects, and what are the implications of such a methodological shift for political science? This symposium on collaborative methodology (CM) will discuss how and why we should meaningfully include those we research in our decision-making processes related to the methodological tools and research designs we use. Taking a pluralistic approach to both methodology and methods in terms of contributor expertise, the symposium spans both qualitative and quantitative as well as interpretivist and positivist traditions, in some cases fusing or blurring the lines of these methodological boundaries. In doing so, we offer best practices for collaborative methodology—meaning the philosophy or epistemology guiding research practices—as well as for collaborative methods, referring to the specific tools researchers use in ontologically guiding research processes to obtain data.