Teaching to Change LA > Youth Voices > Vol. 5, Issue 1 > Electoral Politics
Electoral Politics > Features > Student Work
Deion Barrientos, Ryan Bell, and Carl Jackson are seniors at Crenshaw High School.

On Being a Critical Researcher

Being a critical researcher is another way of being dedicated to finding out more about what you feel affects you, your people, and community. For me, being a critical researcher is also being able to recognize and exercise my ability and right to look into anything that I would like to find out more about.

This type of attitude towards the world requires a strong mindset with a lot of will power. You have to have a mindset that will inspire others to think or act like you (for example, to strike, protest, or lead a walkout, etc.). Another form of a strong mindset is the ability to challenge people and ask questions. To develop a strong mindset we have to humanize ourselves and have a vision of the equality that we want and need. We then need to think about what it would take to start pushing in that direction. Then we need to ask questions and begin to challenge those obstacles with the answers from those questions.

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On Being a Critical Researcher

Critical research demands the potential energy that we all have in us. Turning this potential into kinetic energy begins with re-examining what seems to be enigmas. It is crucial to acknowledge confusion. Becoming a critical researcher requires having thoughts without boundaries, because with boundaries come limits. Research does not have boundaries, nor does knowledge. The hunger for education is the key in being any kind of researcher. The hunger for more knowledge is what feeds the researcher’s drive for evidence. The researcher’s ultimate satisfaction is only granted by a personal sense of completion. We all should be equipped with this hunger.

On Being a Critical Researcher

Before I came to the summer seminar I did not know what a critical researcher was, what literacy meant, or how to ask critical questions. Now I know how to ask questions, interview people, do research, and pay attention. I also know how to dig deep into research because when you dig deep you get more information. We need to analyze situations and ask questions. A critical researcher is a person that thinks beyond what someone requires from them and is also a person that gathers information in a way that can be used to come up with good information and data.

Education is the first tool, and then you need street smarts.

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Teaching to Change LA is an online journal of IDEA, UCLA's Institute for Democracy, Education, & Access