• To gain insight into the position of the female researcher when conducting research into male experiences
• To understand the conduct of research on a sensitive cultural subject through insider and outsider perspectives
• To use the tools and strategies required to achieve desirable outcomes when conducting research on a sensitive topic
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.
Aim 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.
Discussion 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.
Conclusion 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.
Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2022.e1826Peer review
This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated softwareCorrespondence
Shivji NA, Meade O, Watts K et al (2022) Reflecting on ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ positionality when undertaking culturally sensitive research with young Pakistani men: insights from a female researcher. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2022.e1826Acknowledgements
This work was conducted as part of a PhD research study at the School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham. The authors would like to thank everyone who participated and shared their experiences of puberty in this study. They would also like to acknowledge the institutions that assisted with the recruitment of participants in this study and the proofreaders and translators involved, as well as their colleagues in the School of Health Sciences for their constant support
Published online: 24 May 2022
Alternatively, you can purchase access to this article for the next seven days. Buy now