Introduction to Social Research

An integral component of the Institute for Integrative Research is the General Education course, Introduction to Social Research, which seeks to develop historically situated and contextually motivated approaches to contemporary social realities in the DRC through hands-on student research that integrates local knowledge with academic inquiry. After each semester, students present their findings to the wider community and submit their work to community feedback.

Under the direction of faculty, students in the seek to achieve the following goals:

  1. Foster broad engagement in contemporary academic debates motivated by contextual involvement
  2. Position students and community members as the authorities on relevant social issues
  3. Create a forum for breaking down societal barriers, and to truthfully identify existing divisions
  4. Develop an ethic of listening as students assume attitudes of learners when engaging the community
  5. Train students in collaborative research within their discipline and with students of other disciplines
  6. Introduce students to basic research methodologies and predominant theoretical approaches

Some exemplary student-led research projects have been performed around the following questions:
- How do internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Ituri affect the life of churches in Beni?
- Why do merchants in Beni choose to import fish from Uganda rather than raising them locally?
- What is the economic impact of the motorcycle taxi industry in Beni?