Recognition and receiving awards in the research sphere and higher education institutions have already become a subject for research. Bazner, Vaid, and Stanley (2020) made their own contribution to the topic in their article Who is meritorious? Gendered and racialized discourse in named award descriptions in professional societies of higher education. In this writing, the researchers focus on gender and racial issues of recognition, as well as the role of rewards in professional associations. They demonstrate skillful work with qualitative data through a comprehensive evaluation of the social issues of recognition and suggestions for improvement.
The research starts with the descriptions of social challenges related to the issue. According to Bazner et al. (2020), professional societies define who is worthy of public recognition and who can be considered meritorious. Since these associations concentrate and represent collective achievement and create an environment for further work, they are responsible for making reasonable recognition decisions free of sexism and racism. The researchers suggest the solution based on introducing more objective methods and criteria of recognition, as well as on extending such criteria for all groups, including minoritized or underrepresented.
The article is the example of how qualitative research method is used to analyze the issue. According to Ortlipp (2008), reflexing during the research process, for example, through keeping reflective journals, may help avoid mistakes in the future and present the study in a clear and transparent way. Roulston and Shelton (2015) also emphasize that reflexive practices allow to demonstrating the underlying assumptions of researchers. Indeed, in their analysis, Bazner et al. (2020) identified the limitations of the current research and the improvements that can be made in further study. The discussion of observation and researchers’ assumptions made their thoughts visible to their readers.
Since the research deals with racial and gender issues, it is closely connected with cultural differences between the researchers themselves and their participants. Bazner et al. (2020) proved that they are able to identify culture-related educational problems, which makes their research culturally sensitive. According to Roegman, Knight, Taylor, & Watson (2016), this method implies the evaluation of different aspects of culture to contribute to sociocultural change. Bazner et al. (2020) analyzed cultural biases in terms of academic recognition and identified that minoritized and underrepresented groups of academic society are considered less worthy of recognition.
It is also important to emphasize that the issue of bias is especially delicate in qualitative research. For example, Roulston and Shelton (2015) state that multiple forms of bias are perceived to “threaten the validity of studies, resulting in findings that misrepresent phenomena examined” (p. 334). However, it is possible to see that the annotated article is a result of a thorough analysis, where different factors were taken into account. The categories of awards presented in the study, the method of observation and discourse analysis, and the social dominance theory that served as a basis for the research made the results detailed and reliable.
Who is meritorious? Gendered and racialized discourse in named award descriptions in professional societies of higher education is a profound and comprehensive academic work. The combination of research methods allowed the authors to discuss the issue from different points of view. Although it is possible to notice the thoughts of the authors themselves, precise facts are also present in the study, which increases the informative value and credibility of the article. Finally, the research deals with delicate sociocultural problems, which are important nowadays. The commitment of the authors and their contribution to the solution of racial and gender issues in academia make the research especially appealing to readers.
Bazner, K. J., Vaid, J., & Stanley, C. A. (2020). Who is meritorious? Gendered and racialized discourse in named award descriptions in professional societies of higher education. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 1–17.
Ortlipp, M. (2008). Keeping and using reflective journals in the qualitative research process. The Qualitative Report, 13(4), 695-705.
Roegman, R., Knight, M.G., Taylor, A.M., & Watson, V.W.M. (2016). From microscope to mirror: doctoral students’ evolving positionalities through engagement with culturally sensitive research. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 29(1), 44-65.
Roulston, K., & Shelton, S. A. (2015). Reconceptualizing bias in teaching qualitative research methods. Qualitative Inquiry, 21(4), 332–342.