Research Note: The Methodological Implications of Relying Upon Fieldworkers for Qualitative Health Psychology Research

Lynlee Howard-Payne


The fact that a researcher forms a critical component of the world that he or she is studying is no more evident than during the gathering and analysis of data that underpins his or her qualitative research study. Having selected a Straussian grounded theory of the meanings of voluntary medical adult male circumcision (VMAMC) for HIV prevention in South Africa as a research topic, I found that my personal characteristics (being a young, white, English-speaking female researcher) had a profound impact on my ability to recruit and interview participants for this study. Thus, I had to rely on fieldworkers to act on my behalf in this capacity. However, this had a number of methodological implications for my study and as such, this article addresses these to remind qualitative researchers that practical solutions to overcoming research process obstacles can have methodological implications that need to be considered and addressed to ensure rigor within qualitative health psychology research.



data collection; fieldworkers; grounded theory methodology; researcher characteristics; voluntary medical adult male circumcision; South Africa

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Copyright (c) 2015 Lynlee Howard-Payne

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