Reflexive Accounts: An Intersectional Approach to Exploring the Fluidity of Insider/Outsider Status and the Researcher’s Impact on Culturally Sensitive Post-Positivist Qualitative Research
Keywords:Intersectional Approach, Insider/Outsider, Sensitive Research, Reflexivity, Qualitative Research, South Asian Youth
Reflexivity and acknowledging the role of the researcher in the research is a well-established practice in post-positivist research. In this paper we use reflexivity to examine our personal experiences in conducting qualitative research. We use reflexivity to understand how our intersecting identities and resulting insider/outsider status may have influenced the data collection phase of a study regarding the culturally and religiously sensitive issue of male-female intimate relationships. Using an intersectional approach, we explore the fluidity of our insider/outsider statuses resulting from our multiple and intersecting identities such as ethnicity, religion, age, and sex. The multiple identities a researcher possesses can cause him/her to be perceived as an insider and outsider simultaneously, which can play a significant role in shaping the interactions between the interviewer and interviewee. We present reflexive accounts on how our identities may have affected the data collection process and participants’ comfort level when discussing sensitive issues, in this case sexuality. Overall, we seek to provide insight into the role of intersecting multiple identities and the resulting insider/outsider status in qualitative data collection when examining culturally and religiously sensitive issues from the perspective of the researchers.
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