The postcolonial researcher must be guided by the four Rs—says Chilisa (2011: 7) citing Ellis and Earley (2006), Louis (2007), Weber-Pillwax (2001) and Wilson (2008)—namely: “accountable responsibility, respect, reciprocity, and rights and regulations of the researched”. Chilisa (2011) elaborates on the assumptions about the nature of reality, knowledge and values within the postcolonial indigenous research paradigm; emphasising the multiple relations and many connections human beings are having with their community, the living and nonliving—stretching from birth to death and beyond. “An indigenous paradigm comes from the fundamental belief that knowledge is relational” states Chilisa (2011: 21) and “knowledge is shared with all of creation”. The four Rs therefore comprise:
- Relational accountable responsibility, which implies that all parts of the research process are indeed related and that the researcher is accountable to all.
- Respectful representation includes the researcher’s way of listening, of paying attention, of acknowledging, and for creating spaces for the voices of the Other and their knowledge systems.
- Reciprocal appropriation entails that research must be conducted in such a way that both the communities researched and the researcher derive benefits. The ethical dimension of ownership of intellectual property is emphasised.
- Rights and regulations during the research process include, but is not limited to “ethical protocols that accord the colonized and the marginalised ownership of the research process and the knowledge produced” (Chilisa, 2011: 22). Not misappropriating what is not yours as researcher for the taking.
Chilisa, B. 2011. Indigenous Research Methodologies. Los Angeles: Sage.