Chapter 2 Reflections on Research as it Unfolds: Inclusive Tactics as a Methodological Intervention

Sean Kamperman

What is the most important takeaway from your chapter?

In mental health rhetoric research, inclusive research is critical, because it allows multiple ways of knowing, moving, and being to gain legitimacy. The most important takeaway from my chapter is that there is no one way of crafting inclusive research. This is because inclusion is a socially embedded, rhetorical process that is shaped by particular contexts and the life histories (habitus) of the people who enact it. It is emergent. Scholars who insist on a single approach to inclusion or are not sensitive to local differences therefore risk unintentionally excluding certain voices from their research. Based on this idea, my chapter explores how scholars interested in doing research with vulnerable populations can deploy an inclusive approach that is grounded in (a) the research context and (b) their own ways of moving and being.

If you were making discussion questions for students (advanced undergraduates or early graduate students) to go along with your chapter, what would they be?

  1. In what ways is inclusion rhetorical? Are there aspects of inclusive research that should not be flexible or context-specific? 
  2. In mental health research, what aspects of the researcher’s experience/ identity/ embodiment are relevant to consider when situating one’s methodology?  
  3. Are there meaningful differences between inclusion and access? How should these terms be defined/ differentiated? 

What questions do you feel your chapter leaves un-examined or where would you go with it next? 

I think the first question above, “Are there aspects of inclusion that should not be flexible or context-specific?”, is important to consider. I imagine an inclusive social science researcher reading my chapter would disagree with some of my claims about the value of a rhetorical approach to inclusion. They might want to know, Are there specific methodologies and practices, e.g. participatory action research, that are inherently more inclusive than others? Another question I would like to explore is, What can mental health rhetoric research contribute to our knowledge of how diverse communities enact inclusion? My chapter discusses how I enacted inclusion at length, but does not really get at how my participants imagined inclusion working for them.  

Is there anything that you want those considering doing work in MHR to know? 

It is daunting doing human-subject research in MHR, but incredibly rewarding and important. I think scholars interested in this kind of work need to support and learn from each other, so we can avoid common mistakes and maybe even come to some agreement about best practices. I think Jan Walmsley’s notion of inclusive research as a “shared journey” among researchers and participants is a powerful starting place for these conversations.  

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