Managing Unanticipated Consequences: Historical Research in Ghana
Research, by its very nature, can have a degree of trial and error about it. We must acknowledge and represent the error as well as the trial. Research engagement and impact are always evolving. One solution can often become a trigger for new challenges. In my research career, I have approached engagement as a life-long activity in much the same way that anthropologists and linguists do, by building relationships with a community over an entire professional life. This allows me as a researcher to observe how social change occurs over time and allows me to develop frameworks that reflect changes. To demonstrate the way that research within a community can be a rewarding, challenging and evolving endeavour, I return to my home village in Ghana where the launch of an historical research project spun off into two directions of impact—one positive and one negative—and caused me to reflect on the research relationship I had developed and nurtured in my home community.
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