Outsider Indigenous Research: Dancing the Tightrope Between Etic and Emic Perspectives

Felicia Darling


With an example of a single study, I describe the strategic application of etic and emic approaches (in outsider research) to incorporate more insider perspectives. I introduce an iterative methodological model that instantiates the etic and emic theories into methodological practices. The model centers on the concept of methodological flexibility (methods that flex to accommodate insider perspectives). Reframing the balancing etic and emic perspectives in terms of the iterative model and methodological flexibility achieves two goals. Firstly, it supports the process of researcher reflexivity. Secondly, it enables a practical discussion of methodological adaptations that encourage emic perspectives throughout all phases of a study: design, data collection, and analysis. Drawing from my mixed methods study in the Yucatán, I further describe the model for balancing the two polar perspectives. Practical methodological recommendations made could inform other studies conducted by outsiders in indigenous or other communities.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs160364


mixed methods; outsider research; etic; emic; mathematics education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-17.3.2538

Copyright (c) 2016 Felicia Darling

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