“But You Are Also Ghanaian, You Should Know”: Negotiating the Insider–Outsider Research Positionality in the Fieldwork Encounter

Emmanuel Akwasi Adu-Ampong*, Ellis Adjei Adams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The reflexive turn in sociology and across much of the social sciences has brought a central focus on the “self” within research encounters. Within this context, qualitative researchers are required to highlight how their positionality shapes their research experience. In this article, we interrogate how our own personal experiences as native Ghanaians conducting research at home and away from home in two different African countries—Ghana and Malawi—shaped our research positionality. We use the framework of credibility and approachability and develop new categories such as the eager learner. We show how our performed behaviors and perceived characteristics enabled and constrained our access to research participants and information. The analysis contributes to the research methods literature by highlighting the fieldwork encounter as a site of shifting, negotiated, and fluid positionalities for both fully insiders and fully outsiders.

Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Inquiry
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 May 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • fieldwork
  • Ghana
  • insider/outsider
  • Malawi
  • positionality

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