Minority Scholars and Insider-Outsider Researcher Status: Challenges along a Personal, Professional and Political Continuum

Mags Crean


In this article, I examine some of the methodological issues present for minority scholars when conducting research with an "insider-outsider" researcher status. Utilising examples from my fieldwork, I will expose how social class, care and gender identity along with positioning have impact on the research process and analysis. Based on a study that sought to collaboratively produce knowledge about how inequality is lived and challenged, I was able to gain access and build rapport with participants with my insider working class background. With my outsider positioning as a "researcher" and "academic," I encountered more nuanced relations in the research process, showing how one can also be an insider-outsider simultaneously. My additional identity and positioning as a woman and mother became influential factors to the collaborative analysis of the findings, from which I gathered new knowledge about the intersection of class and care. In placing my identity and positioning, in terms of class, care and gender, at the centre of this discussion of methodology, I raise important questions on a personal, professional and political continuum for qualitative research and the production of collaborative knowledge and action within the field of participatory research.


participatory action research; emancipatory research; insider-outsider; autoethnography; knowledge production; social class; gender

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-19.1.2874

Copyright (c) 2018 mags crean

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