Resource: Culturally Responsive Research

Our growing collection of tools and information demonstrates how research can and should respect and dignify research participants.

by Rupu GuptaKate Flinner
Aug 30, 2021

Cultural responsiveness is a perspective that acknowledges there are many ways of knowing and making meaning, which are based in culture and context. It holds that multiple ways of knowing should be respected -- especially those of historically marginalized groups, whose voices are often excluded in society.

The team at Knology hopes to promote culturally responsive approaches in social science research, so we have started this collection of resources about the topic. Following the lead of Mere Berryman and colleagues, we have assembled these resources because they use a “research stance where establishing respectful relationships with participants is central to both human dignity and the research” (Berryman et al., 2013, p. 1). By using this approach, researchers must also reflect on their own practices, including methods and interpretations.

We will continue to build this collection over time. If you would like to suggest an addition to this list, please contact Rupu Gupta (


A Framework for Culturally Responsive Research

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Oregon State University, and TERC developed a framework for culturally responsive research as part of the NSF-funded Researching the Value of Educator Actions for Learning (REVEAL) project. The document introduces the framework by defining relevant terms like ‘cultural competence’ and multicultural validity’, and the philosophical stance of the researchers involved. Culturally responsive research strategies are described in the framework connected to different aspects of validity in the research process.

Culturally Responsive Methodologies

Scholars Mere Berryman, Suzanne SooHoo, and Ann Nevin edited Culturally Responsive Methodologies, a collection of research and reflection that challenges traditional education research paradigms. They call for researchers to interrogate assumptions about the research process and examine the relationship between researcher and subject. The book advocates for building a reciprocal relationship between researchers and subjects that prioritizes the humanity and dignity of both groups.

A Rubric to Assess Cultural Responsiveness

Audrey A. Trainor and Aydin Bal developed a rubric to assess cultural responsiveness of research. The 15-item rubric captures various aspects of the research process, including the relevancy of the research problem, description of the sampling procedure, and analysis and interpretation. They demonstrate use of the rubric by examining a set of intervention studies that involve randomized controlled experiments.

Responsive, Relational, & Reflexive

Maria K. E. Lahman and colleagues describe an aspirational stance for the research community that they call Culturally Responsive Relational Reflexive Ethics (CRRRE). Acknowledging that researchers may not be able to authentically understand the perspective of the different cultural groups with whom they engage, they propose a focus on the three Rs of ethics (responsive, relational and reflexive) that are manifest in eight strands in practice as researchers interact with constituents and audiences.

A Case Study

Carol Cardno and colleagues present a case study of culturally responsive research in practice that was attentive to Maori philosophy in New Zealand. The researcher working with Maori research participants created a blended method that transformed conventional documentary analysis into a communal exercise, aligned with Maori principles of partnership, protection, and participation.

Photo Credit: Josh Calabrese on Unsplash.

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