Insider and outsider perspectives : reflections on researcher identities in research with lesbian and bisexual women

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Hayfield, Nikki ; Huxley, Caroline J. (2015)

In this article, we reflect on the concept of the insider and the outsider in qualitative research. We draw on our different experiences of conducting research with lesbian and bisexual women, using our PhD research projects as case studies to consider our similarities to and differences from our research participants. We highlight the impact that insider/outsider status can have at each stage of the research process, from deciding on a research topic, the design of materials, communicating with and recruiting participants through to data collection and analysis. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both insider and outsider positions and reflect on our own experiences. We conclude that, in reality, insider/outsider boundaries may be more blurred than the terms imply and highlight some of the ethical considerations that need to be taken into consideration during qualitative research.
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