The process of developing any research project often begins with an idea or research question. While there are endless topics or questions that are researchable, Kaupapa Māori research may begin with an interest in a particular topic; a commitment to finding innovative solutions; wanting to protect and sustain knowledge, skills and expertise; a way to voice protest to specific ideas, or; a desire to make a positive difference in Māori whānau, hapū, iwi and communities.
Kaupapa Māori research is about challenging the 'ordinary' or notion of normal that has been constructed by the dominant culture, and seeks to identify and uphold Māori views, solutions and ways of knowing. It is about empowering Māori people, voice, processes and knowledge.
Kaupapa Māori research addresses issues of injustice and social change. Writers who work in Kaupapa Māori research talk openly about research that has to be transformative it has to produce positive change instead of simply reproducing the same old same old status quo.
While the range of potential topics and research questions is diverse, Kaupapa Māori deals specifically with research that interacts with and/or impacts on Māori people, knowledge, processes and issues. There are endless questions and areas that you could research within this scope and finding inspiration for your topic can come from anywhere.
Once you have the initial research idea, there are some key issues that need to be considered in order to assist you to conceptualise and develop your question from a Kaupapa Māori perspective.
Just because you are Māori, or your topic and/or participants are Māori, doesn't necessarily mean you are conducting or engaging in Kaupapa Māori research