Doing educational research in Asia: Contextualizing western methodology in Bangladesh

Mohammad Nure Alam Siddique, Hosne Ara Begum, Mohammod Moninoor Roshid, Mahbub Sarkar, Foez Ahmed Mojumder

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A significant question is being raised by contemporary authors about the relevance of Western methods for guiding investigation in Asian context. It is strongly argued that methods as a knowledge generating tool useful in one context (e.g., in Western) may not be well-suited to another context (e.g., in Asian), rather, “Asia as Method” (Chen, 2010), as a process of complementing west-generated methods, has strong potential to generate valid knowledge in Asian contexts. It is undeniable that the East is led by the West in knowledge production and knowledge transfer over the centuries due to their socio-economic and political supremacy. Bangladesh, which was a former colony of British Empire, tends to adopt and adapt Western ideas in Education and
educational research despite having a very different socio-economic and cultural context. This paper examines the practice of applying west-originated educational research methods in Bangladesh. Data have been drawn on from our experiences of fieldwork in Bangladesh as a part of our academic research. Two major questions have been addressed in this paper: firstly, what are the challenges we encountered doing our research, and, secondly, how have we overcome the challenges – using an adaptation process or finding a unique way rooted in local context? We reflected on our experiences and we used a descriptive method in reporting the findings. The
challenges we faced include difficulties in recruiting intended participants, problems in getting survey responses, minimizing power relations (such as, between researchers and participants), participantsʼ attempt to provide desirable or correct response to questions, and lack of effort from participants. Moreover, we found that teacher participants view research as an evaluation or inspection or judgment of their teaching performance, which may be linked to our colonial past when teaching was inspected by higher authorities. We conclude that a research approach originating from Western society does not well fit in the Asian context, but searching for a unique Asian way may not be necessary; we just need to be more contextually grounded in designing and applying west-originated methods in the Asian context. This paper may be used as a point of reference for researchers who intend to do educational research adapting Western methodology in Asian contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAARE International Research in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publication27 November - 1 December 2011, Hobart [Tasmania] [proceedings]
Place of PublicationDeakin, ACT, Australia
PublisherAustralian Association for Research in Education
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2011
EventInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2011 - Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Australia
Duration: 27 Nov 20111 Dec 2011


ConferenceInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2011
Abbreviated titleAARE 2011

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