Insider, Spy or Researcher? Qualitative Field Research and Contextual Positionings of Researcher's Identity


MILLI FOLKLOR, no.116, pp.87-100, 2017 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 116
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.87-100
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Depending on how researchers are positioned by informants, and within the frame of their mutual and continuously changing interactions during qualitative research; the "identity" of researchers is one of the determining categories of research and emergent data. However, the determinative effect of researchers is not associated with their personal perceptions or strategies regarding their searching role. A qualitative research is the correlative product of interpretive frames and of the socio-cultural and situational metacommunicative norms and rules which determine the content, form, meaning, purposes, narrative identities and adopted strategies of communications. Consideration of the researcher's position and determinative effect in the qualitative research as a contextual analysis category depends on the understanding of field research contextually as a performance action, event and process in the form of communication and interaction between researchers and informants. In this context, this article discusses the theoretical framework of the interactional and reflexive relationship between the researcher and the field research, and in this theoretical framework as an insider of a migrant community and someone with personal experience of migration, I am evaluating how my pre-interview interpretive and descriptive frame about my self-categories and my relations with the interview, subject and interviewees affect the interview process. I am also evaluating how this effect-which, contrary to my previous assumption of being a linear effect, is actually an impression which is noticed, evaluated and positioned contextually by the interviewee-can influence the interview process and the nature of the emerging data.