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The Hindu Minority of Lusaka, Zambia: Three Challenges of Ethnographic Research

By: Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases
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In this case, I introduce my PhD research on the Hindu minority of Lusaka, Zambia. I conducted fieldwork between 2006 and 2008. My methodological approach involved the use of mixed methods in data collection (these included participant observation, archival work, interviews, questionnaires and photography, drawing and writing projects). In this article, I situate the ethnographer as a ‘research stranger’ and describe that position and some of its attendant difficulties and responsibilities. The article identifies three specific ‘challenges’ that I faced at different stages of research, from early research design and fieldwork through to analysis and writing up. They are

  • Gaining acceptance and access, including dealing with sensitive subjects
  • Research with women and children and the use of innovative methods
  • Sampling and representation

The article demonstrates that research challenges can often be teased apart, but are ultimately interconnected.

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