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Insider Research Method: The Significance of Identities in the Field

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By: & Published: 2014 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases
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Abstract

Within the complex processes and mechanisms underlying knowledge creation, researchers tend to give due recognition to the role, positioning and prior experiences of the researcher who is ultimately the author of research and creator of a new knowledge. This case study focuses on the issues of insiderness and outsiderness as methodological tools in conducting research. The researcher's insiderness not only bears personal socio-demographic characteristics, but can also reveal certain suppositions, assumptions, biases, beliefs and expectations. At the same time, while all researchers share a generic scholarly gaze, insider researchers tend to have intrinsic and tacit knowledge about a particular group. By shedding light on the researcher's identity, scholars have demonstrated awareness that knowledge created by insider researchers may be different from knowledge created by outsider researchers. First, this case study provides a theoretical overview of the insider research method and its origins in the early social sciences. Second, it discusses the various meanings of insider research as well as the ethical and practical implications of conducting research as an insider to the social groups, processes and practices under study.

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