Insider / Outsider Status

Inquiry 19 (3):34-43 (2000)
Abstract
Conducting research as a member of a cross-cultural team offers numerous methodological challenges, not the least of which is negotiating insider / outsider statuses. In reflecting upon these issues, this article draws from experiences encountered by an insider / outsider team interviewing Malaysian older adults. From gaining access to participants, to the “communal” setting of the interview, to askingmeaningful questions through translation, we experienced the slippage and fluidity, the advantages and disadvantages of being both insider and outsider. Our experiences are analyzed first through thetraditional definitions of insider and outsider, then through more contemporary critical and postmodern frameworks. From these perspectives, concepts of positionality power, and knowledge constructionare discussed for their value in mirroring the cross-cultural dimension of this research, and our insider / outsider positions within the process
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