research is....


Research is not only to "signify an 'endeavour to discover new or collate old facts etc. by scientific study of a subject, [or] course of critical investigation' (Oxford English Dictionary), but also to describe any means by which a discipline or art develops, tests, and renews itself (Reid, 1981, p. 1)" (Gough, 2004, p. 156).


Research, which is the production of (hopefully useful) meaning, emerges not only from processes of gathering and sorting 'data,' but also through creation of the research text itself (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Dunlop, 2002; Richardson, 2002a), and experiences of reading that 'text' (Denzin, 1997).


I would also add, the role of research text is also to acknowledge ways in which the field polices itself. One intent of this work is to "post" structures for viewing and interrogation; in other words, making structures, or structuring processes, visible in order to enable seeing what frames one's seeing.


The text does not stop at deconstruction, however; perhaps more significant is its reconstructive role which requires that the reader draw on re-animated, often embodied, perception (Bai, 2009) to access meanings not accessible through cognitive processes alone. Thus the research/representation is a site of aesthetic contemplation, enabling researchers, readers and viewers alike to experience and engage with a text where "meaning emerges through a dialectical and sensual engagement" rather than through "the display of a set of fixed meanings created by the researcher" (Cole & McIntyre, 2004, n.p.; see also, Finley, 2003).


Yet it is something else, also.... By allowing spaces for meaning to emerge in collaborative co-creation with an animate Earth rather than through the "habitual thought construction" which usually dominates most human meaning-making processes (Bai, 2009, p. 144), the hypertext provides at least one way to support opening to an animist ontology and epistemology. The process of intuitively engaging with the hypertext provides an instance of ways in which researchers and educators alike might find both for themselves, and provide for 'readers', opportunities to actively engage the many voices of animate Earth.


This particular inquiry is contextualized within the increasing calls for decolonizing research which respectfully represents the voice of the Other, including the non-human (Russell, 2005; see also, Shahjahan, 2005). The response to this call has required moving beyond epistemologies and ontologies currently acknowledged in Western research texts (see porosity), and troubling what counts as data (Lather, 2000) in order to include insights acquired through communications with animate Earth. Thus, the most important part of this dissertation may be the images, music, and other spaces-in-between: those places where 'readers' might "tune in" to some of the voices of animate Earth in a joint meaning-making processes.