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The data acquisition from the sample group was however, not without complications. The first complication pertained to my status as a foreigner, which I realised made several people wary of my presence. After visiting the research site continuously over a period of time, they became more familiar with me and thus opened up to the idea of participating in my study. Interpreters/translators and cross-language research: Reflexivity and border crossings.
In my opinion, this was indicative of the lack of training which the translator received and I learned to not just assume that job roles were obvious, especially in this context.
In instances where omissions were obvious, I questioned the translator to gain further details. Reflections on interviewing foreign elites: praxis, positionality, validity, and the cult of the insider.
Fieldwork experiences can often be a daunting way of conducting research but they can also be fulfilling.
I have had first-hand experience conducting fieldwork for my master’s degree, and while it was a generally enjoyable experience, I did make a number of mistakes during the process.
This strategy, according to Denzin (1970), is known as methodological triangulation and it allows researchers to make use of various data gathering methods to ensure internal validity.
Based on the use of methodological triangulation, I specifically designed interviews targeted at both elite groups and slum dwellers in Rwanda to investigate the thinking behind the urban policies designed by political elites, and how it impacts marginalised slum dwellers.In hindsight, I should have changed my approach much earlier to save a lot of the time I wasted. The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 8(1), pp.42-50. Coloring the field: Gender,“race,” and the politics of fieldwork. Looking back, I would have placed less emphasis on the elite sample group as primary data was not necessary for addressing my research questions concerning government policy. However, I learned some valuable lessons as a result of this too.During my fieldwork in Rwanda, I increasingly realised that it was important to incorporate primary research data into my study, but because of a lack of data on my topic, I made use of other sources of qualitative data to validate my findings.I tried to counteract these limitations by shifting my focus to the second sample in my study, the slum dwellers, although this was also fraught with some complications.Comparatively and overall, the second sample group proved to be more cooperative and I quickly learned that I had wasted a significant amount of time focusing on political elites, when a lot of the responses I desired could have easily been sourced from policy documents and government reports.At the same time, I realised that I should have provided a lot more training for the research assistant who also served as a translator, due to the events that ensued in the field. According to scholars such as Temple and Edwards (2002, p.2) “the interpreter is a conduit linking the interviewer with the interviewee and ideally is a neutral party who should not add or subtract from what the primary parties communicate to each other” but in my research, I quickly realised that this was not the case. I tried to strike a balance between note taking and the interview process, but I found this to be a difficult endeavour.I was able to access more political elites than initially anticipated, however it often felt futile because I couldn’t source as much information as I had wanted from this sample group.