Essay Reflective

While oftentimes the data collection process was extremely stressful, and sometimes precarious, I learned to be resilient in, and how to maintain focus on meeting my set objectives. Multiple mentoring relationships facilitate learning during fieldwork. Translation as a creative process: The power of the name. Peabody, R., Hammond, S., Torcom, J., Brown, L., Thompson, C. Concurrently, I also learned when to change approaches in the field – especially when a particular research method had proven to be unsuccessful. Strategies for gaining access in doing fieldwork: Reflection of two researchers. Insider or outsider, both or neither: some dilemmas of interviewing in a cross-cultural setting. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 49(1), pp.39-43. Situating knowledges: positionality, reflexivities and other tactics. Fieldwork experiences can often be a daunting way of conducting research but they can also be fulfilling.

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Scholars such as Harvey (2011) have noted that this is the best approach for elite interviews because it allows flexibility and hence, maximises response rates.

Notably, scholars such as Aberbach and Rockman (2002), Hoffmann-Lange (1987) as well as Zuckerman (1972) have also shown that elites prefer to engage with open-ended questions so that they can articulate their views coherently.

At the same time, I realised that I should have provided a lot more training for the research assistant who also served as a translator, due to the events that ensued in the field.

According to scholars such as Temple and Edwards (2002, p.2) “the interpreter is a conduit linking the interviewer with the interviewee and ideally is a neutral party who should not add or subtract from what the primary parties communicate to each other” but in my research, I quickly realised that this was not the case.

After visiting the research site continuously over a period of time, they became more familiar with me and thus opened up to the idea of participating in my study. Interpreters/translators and cross-language research: Reflexivity and border crossings.

I also ensured that I hired a local research assistant, and I realised that my association with a local gave me a greater deal of legitimacy in the eyes of my potential research respondents. PS: Political Science and Politics, 23(3), pp.451–455. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(2), pp.1-12.

However, I learned some valuable lessons as a result of this too.

During my fieldwork in Rwanda, I increasingly realised that it was important to incorporate primary research data into my study, but because of a lack of data on my topic, I made use of other sources of qualitative data to validate my findings.

This strategy, according to Denzin (1970), is known as methodological triangulation and it allows researchers to make use of various data gathering methods to ensure internal validity.

Based on the use of methodological triangulation, I specifically designed interviews targeted at both elite groups and slum dwellers in Rwanda to investigate the thinking behind the urban policies designed by political elites, and how it impacts marginalised slum dwellers.


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