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Reflecting on ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ positionality when undertaking culturally sensitive research with young Pakistani men: insights from a female researcher





Background :
Conducting culturally sensitive research into male experiences can be challenging for female researchers. Despite this, there are very few published reflective accounts of how they have overcome these difficulties.

To illustrate a female researcher's challenges in conducting research into young men's experiences of puberty in Pakistan and highlight the strategies used to overcome these.

An important challenge for the researcher was creating an environment in which participants felt able to share their experiences. This was overcome by the incorporation of the experiences of public involvement contributors in the development of the project, offering a choice of interview format to participants and other solutions driven by the 'insider' position of the researcher. The researcher's 'outsider' role as a mature and pregnant woman appeared to create a 'safe' environment, allowing the young men to openly share their personal experiences.

Female researchers can successfully conduct culturally sensitive research with young men in patriarchal societies such as Pakistan. The key is to be aware of potential cultural issues and to use any insider/outsider positionality to the greatest effect.

Implications for practice:
In addition to adapting procedures, such as gaining trust, building rapport and assuring a non-judgemental and comfortable environment, the 'outsider' position of the female researcher should be given due consideration when undertaking culturally sensitive research with men.

Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2022
Publication Date May 24, 2022
Journal Nurse Researcher
Print ISSN 1351-5578
Publisher RCN Publishing (RCNi)
Pages 24-29
Keywords black and minority ethnic; cultural competence; data collection; diversity; ethnicity; gender issues; interviews; qualitative research; religion research; research methods; study design; study participation; study recruitment
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