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Recruitment of South Asian research participants and the challenges of ethnic matching: age, gender and migration history

Recruitment of South Asian research participants and the challenges of ethnic matching: age, gender and migration history
Recruitment of South Asian research participants and the challenges of ethnic matching: age, gender and migration history
A researcher’s position as an outsider and/or insider in relation to the population under study is important and can affect the research relationship. This paper is based on an NIHR SSCR funded research project on attitudes to social care services. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews with members of the Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) ethnic groups in the Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire areas. Barriers to recruiting older South Asian participants into this study were encountered. Researchers and their participants are often matched by ethnicity during recruitment and data collection in social research on the basis that researchers are able to empathise with their participants in a manner that others cannot (Bhopal 2001). As we found, however, even when shared ethnic identity exists in the research process, other differences can have significant impacts not only on communication, but also the interpretation of data. There is a need to be cautious of the risks associated with matching and to be wary of making implicit assumptions on the basis of aspects of partially shared identities (Bhopal 2010). With this project, even where researchers were matched to potential interviewees with regards to ethnicity and language, rapport with participants was still affected by differences in gender, migration, age and status. The authors argue that care must be taken when thinking about which characteristics should be prioritised when matching a researcher to potential participants. Where matching by gender and age are not possible, the advice of gatekeepers becomes ever more important. Matching should be understood on a scale (Grewal and Ritchie 2006). This scale could be understood as intersectional where the point on that scale depends on particular facets of identity that become less or more important in specific settings, and with specific research topics. Finally, recognising these challenges contributed to the analysis of issues that young, female carers and social care practitioners might have in facilitating access to, and provision of, high quality care.
1701
University of Southampton
Khambhaita, Priya
c9cd6096-cd82-4c07-ae32-cf0bf3459fae
Willis, Rosalind
dd2e5e10-58bf-44ca-9c04-f355f3af26ba
Pathak, Pathik
29d3480f-191e-4caf-8cf6-3d3836ec39c5
Evandrou, Maria
cd2210ea-9625-44d7-b0f4-fc0721a25d28
Khambhaita, Priya
c9cd6096-cd82-4c07-ae32-cf0bf3459fae
Willis, Rosalind
dd2e5e10-58bf-44ca-9c04-f355f3af26ba
Pathak, Pathik
29d3480f-191e-4caf-8cf6-3d3836ec39c5
Evandrou, Maria
cd2210ea-9625-44d7-b0f4-fc0721a25d28

Khambhaita, Priya, Willis, Rosalind, Pathak, Pathik and Evandrou, Maria (2017) Recruitment of South Asian research participants and the challenges of ethnic matching: age, gender and migration history (Centre for Research on Aging Discussion Paper, 1701) University of Southampton 18pp.

Record type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)

Abstract

A researcher’s position as an outsider and/or insider in relation to the population under study is important and can affect the research relationship. This paper is based on an NIHR SSCR funded research project on attitudes to social care services. Qualitative data were collected through semi-structured interviews with members of the Asian (Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi) ethnic groups in the Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire areas. Barriers to recruiting older South Asian participants into this study were encountered. Researchers and their participants are often matched by ethnicity during recruitment and data collection in social research on the basis that researchers are able to empathise with their participants in a manner that others cannot (Bhopal 2001). As we found, however, even when shared ethnic identity exists in the research process, other differences can have significant impacts not only on communication, but also the interpretation of data. There is a need to be cautious of the risks associated with matching and to be wary of making implicit assumptions on the basis of aspects of partially shared identities (Bhopal 2010). With this project, even where researchers were matched to potential interviewees with regards to ethnicity and language, rapport with participants was still affected by differences in gender, migration, age and status. The authors argue that care must be taken when thinking about which characteristics should be prioritised when matching a researcher to potential participants. Where matching by gender and age are not possible, the advice of gatekeepers becomes ever more important. Matching should be understood on a scale (Grewal and Ritchie 2006). This scale could be understood as intersectional where the point on that scale depends on particular facets of identity that become less or more important in specific settings, and with specific research topics. Finally, recognising these challenges contributed to the analysis of issues that young, female carers and social care practitioners might have in facilitating access to, and provision of, high quality care.

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CRA DP 1701 - Author's Original
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More information

Published date: 21 March 2017
Organisations: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology, Leadership & Health Systems, Gerontology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 408510
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/408510
PURE UUID: f89b04ce-07de-4203-abab-76b890d95664
ORCID for Rosalind Willis: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6687-5799
ORCID for Maria Evandrou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2115-9358

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 20 May 2017 04:05
Last modified: 12 Dec 2021 03:49

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Contributors

Author: Priya Khambhaita
Author: Rosalind Willis ORCID iD
Author: Pathik Pathak
Author: Maria Evandrou ORCID iD

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