When the Methodological Shoe is on the Other Foot: African American Interviewer and White Interviewees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Some scholars engaging in the insider/outsider debate have argued that the pairing of researcher and subjects based on racial similarity-i.e., "race matching"-is the most effective means for conducting qualitative research. Although insider/outsider status has been discussed with respect to white researchers' studies of African Americans, I explore the heretofore rarely discussed situation in which an African American is the researcher and whites are the subjects. I argue that insider status with respect to race continues to be based on a presumed connectedness linked to phenotypical characteristics-like skin color or hair texture. Yet, rather than experiencing a solely insider or outsider status, researchers and subjects experience what I call "insider moments" wherein their interests converge and they are able to share in the kinds of interactions that yield important insights. I conclude by evaluating the utility of insider/outsider status in qualitative research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-136
Number of pages20
JournalQualitative Sociology
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Insider/outsider
  • Race and qualitative research methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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