Smith (1999) states that “researchers must go further than simply recognizing personal beliefs and assumptions, and the effect they have when interacting with people” (p. 173). In this article I take this view further and argue that research is a social game and as social researchers we have dual obligations of utilising theory to explain social realities for the purposes of the ‘Academy’ but also moving beyond this, and to engage in meaningful ways with the society it is that we are critiquing; by creating, producing and disseminating knowledge. This is done by tracing my epistemological assumptions which are informed by critical theories and the Gramscian notion of hegemony. I draw on my Masters thesis project as an example of how these particular epistemological assumptions informed this research. I also discuss the dissatisfaction emanating at the end of this research and the epistemological ambiguities I felt with not being able to attend to my perceived dual obligations as a researcher, in particular, engaging with the community. I then discuss an opportunity that arose for doctoral research and how I felt this aligned to my views of the dual roles of researchers. Finally, as an aid to fulfilling my obligations as a researcher to my community, I address a number of the critical questions raised by Smith (1999).

Final PDF