Grasping at Context: Cross Language Qualitative Research as Secondary Qualitative Data Analysis


  • Bogusia Temple University of Central Lancashire
  • Rosalind Edwards London South Bank University
  • Claire Alexander London School of Economics



secondary qualitative data analysis, cross language, community researchers, interpretation, translation, methodology


Research with people who are not fluent in the dominant language of the research endeavour often involves working with interpreters/ translators or researchers who can speak the relevant minority languages. They conduct the interviews and provide the written data used for analysis in a language other than the original. However, this kind of cross language research is often presented as if it is the analysis of primary data rather than the re-construction of it. We argue that analysis of cross language data shows some strong similarities with secondary data analysis. Questions about the relevance of the context in which data are produced are central to both cross language research and secondary qualitative data analysis. We illustrate our arguments using a research project that examined user views of interpreters and discuss how we dealt with the issue of context in analysing data that were collected by others and produced in languages we did not speak. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0604107


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Bogusia Temple, University of Central Lancashire

Bogusia TEMPLE is Professor of Health and Social Care Research in the Department of Social Work at the University of Central Lancashire. Her interests include narrative approaches to research and methodological issues in cross language research.

Rosalind Edwards, London South Bank University

Rosalind EDWARDS is Professor in Social Policy and Director of the Families & Social Capital ESRC Research Group at London South Bank University. Her research interests mainly focus on family policy and family life, especially in relation to gender, class and ethnicity, and she also has an interest in methodology.

Claire Alexander, London School of Economics

Claire ALEXANDER is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the London School of Economics. Her research interests are on race, ethnicity and identity in Britain, particularly in relation to masculinity and youth. As an ethnographer, she also has a research and teaching interest in ethnographic methodology, particularly in relation to race.




How to Cite

Temple, B., Edwards, R., & Alexander, C. (2006). Grasping at Context: Cross Language Qualitative Research as Secondary Qualitative Data Analysis. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 7(4).