Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Domestic workers participate in action research

A network of researchers, trade unionists and domestic workers has done a study on the position of domestic workers in the Netherlands and South Africa. Domestic workers had an active role in the research. The researchers explain:
In doing so, we wanted to redress the frequent experiences of domestic workers who have been “studied” by researchers who often demand time, ask difficult and intimate questions, and rarely return their results or give back to the domestic workers and their organizations. At the same time, we focused on assuring that this research would be relevant to domestic work- ers themselves, accessible to organizations and applicable to the active national contexts that are developing policy changes to increase workers’ rights.
In a manual, they describe how the research was done. The researchers took responsibility for the research methodology, while workers had a role as co-researcher. Any worker who is interested in participating as a co-researcher should be allowed to do so, the authors suggest, although there are some practical considerations (language, literacy, time). The co-researchers were trained and carried out interviews. The manual discusses issues like deciding on the research question, finding respondents, interview skills, transcribing and coding the interviews and analysing the results.


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