There is an ever-present need to challenge, create, and expand upon qualitative research approaches in the applied and practice disciplines to avoid repeating mistakes of the past and to realize a research agenda for socially just practice. Toward these goals, anti-oppressive researchers engage with a variety of methodologies to co-produce accounts that reflect a comprehensive understanding of social problems with the people who experience them and to enact solutions for real world change. In this article, we reflect on the manner in which Interpretive Description may be a useful option for anti-oppressive researchers to consider as a methodological approach in meeting these philosophical and practical aspirations. We find that Interpretive Description offers guidance toward building the foundation, bringing your whole self to the research, remaining responsive to people, valuing people's expert perspective of their own experience, using power and privilege wisely, broadening contributors and consumers of research, embracing complications and variations, and enacting change. To illustrate this, we share examples from a participatory, anti-oppressive Interpretive Description study conducted by a team comprised of an inter-racial coalition of students, alumni, and faculty. Collectively, we investigated Black graduate student experiences of racism, inclusion, and expansion within a historically and primarily White university. This case example illustrates our contention that, as our commitment to anti-oppressive research and practice in the applied disciplines intensifies, Interpretive Description is well situated to help us advance practice knowledge in a manner that is transparent, equitable and credible.
International Journal of Qualitative Methods
Sage Publications, Inc.
Ocean, M., Montgomery, R., Jamison, Z., Hicks, K., & Thorne, S. (2022). Exploring the Expansive Properties of Interpretive Description: An Invitation to Anti-oppressive Researchers. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 21, 1-14. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/16094069221103665