Session 29

G3 Embracing Diversity in Empirical Research: Insights from Culturally Sensitive Approaches

Scientific research faces a significant challenge in achieving inclusiveness due to the increasingly diverse nature of society. To address this challenge, intercultural research must incorporate the experiences of individuals who have been excluded from standard research designs and paradigms. Moreover, there is a pressing need to develop a more comprehensive understanding of our diverse societies while exploring alternative data analysis methods beyond relying solely on large data sets. Empirical research, combined with a reflective philosophic background, plays a significant role in understanding and valuing the cultural dimensions of society. However, the de-Westernization of research paradigms is necessary for societal development. Rather than replicating models created by Western academics, researchers must prioritize culturally sensitive approaches that uncover hidden dimensions of culture and analyze cultural phenomena on location in a sophisticated manner. To conduct culturally sensitive research, it is essential to bridge theoretical foundations with empirical research. In addition to using quantitative approaches like cross-national surveys, culturally sensitive research designs should be open to methods triangulation, researcher triangulation, and multi-sited research to account for local complexities, power relations, and concrete life experiences. The importance of a critical intercultural dialogue on methods cannot be overstated, especially when interpreting data in the intercultural field. Collaborative efforts and best practice examples that deal with cultural specificities in the Global South must be reflected upon. Empirical approaches following the quantitative logic, such as highlighting issues like political and social values, quality of life, well-being, and sustainability (among many others), are welcome. Qualitative researchers may contribute to this session as interpretative paradigms may offer greater possibilities to build locally grounded theories or refer to multiple (cultural) realities embedded in certain communities.
This session advocates for the adoption of culturally sensitive approaches that analyze cultural phenomena in a sophisticated way. To achieve this, it is important to de-Westernize research paradigms, prioritize mixed-methods approaches, and engage in a critical intercultural dialogue on methods to generate emancipatory knowledge for local researchers. We invite contributions for this session from researchers and scholars dealing with these kinds of approaches.