Learning from the Opportunities and Challenges of Conducting Intercultural Research
||Maj 16, 2012
||SDU, Odense, O94
|Registration and paper submission:
||Here before May 4. Paper 15 pages max.
||With paper 0,5, without paper 0,25
Nagesh Rao, Ph.D., Professor
Dr. Nagesh Rao is Professor in the Communication Area, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, with scholarly interests in intercultural communication competence and health communication. Over the past twenty years, Nagesh has taught in several U.S. universities, including University of Maryland, Ohio University and University of New Mexico. In each of these universities, Nagesh was voted the Teacher of the Year at the university-level. Nagesh has also been a visiting professor at Bangkok University, Zayed University (U.A.E.) and Hong Kong Baptist University.
Dr. Rao’s work has been published in internationally reputed communication and health journals, including Communication Monographs, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, and Studies in Family Planning. Nagesh has served as a consultant or a trainer for Siemens, NextGen Health Care, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, England, Johns Hopkins University Medical School, and Northwestern University Medical School. Nagesh has worked on research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health(NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) and the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
"They took the surveys home to do what?!!" Learning from the Opportunities and Challenges of Conducting Intercultural Research”
Yes, that is what two of our research associates did in Arusha, Tanzania, after entering the data for 3,000 surveys from a large U.N. funded project. It was cold in Arusha, there was no firewood at home, and they had anyway entered all the data – so, they took the surveys home to burn it for cooking and keeping the house warm. As a project leader, coordinating this project from the United States, my strong reaction was “They took the surveys home to do what?!!”
In this global context, the significance of intercultural research cannot be emphasized enough. While the aim of intercultural research is important, noble and practical, conducting intercultural research has epistemological, methodological and pragmatic opportunities and challenges. Some years ago, Suzanne Salimbene, Charlotte C. Eason, Pamala F. Burch and Jeanne Pfeiffer-Ewens (2006) wrote a healthcare book creatively titled, “What Language Does Your Patient Hurt In?” Intercultural researchers could write a similar book, titled, “What Language is Your Research In?” Our epistemological foundations are firmly based in the languages we use to conduct research and its resulting implications on how we define “reality, problems and solutions.” In addition, much of intercultural research is Euro-Western in its epistemology, entomology and axiology.
The purpose of this doctoral research seminar is to explore these questions:
- What does it mean to conduct “intercultural” research from our own vantage point(s)?
- Are there any truly intercultural theories? What is the scope of intercultural theories in the future?
- Do our methods allow us to capture “reality” in other cultures? In other words, does a 5-point Likert-type scale assess “reality” in a village in India as it does in the United States?
- What are the theoretical and practical implications of our findings?
We will use a seminar-style method for this colloquium. I will do mini-lectures on the topics, invite presentations from the student’s own research, and provide a space for an interactive dialogue about these key issues.