Fieldnotes, Field Research, and Positionality of a 'Contested-Native Researcher'

The field research experiences of a native researcher in Easter DRC
MONUSCO Photos/R56A9909

Is a native researcher necessarily and 'insider'? In an ethnically polarized context, this is not always the case.

In this article, ISS PhD researcher, Delphin Ntanyoma, discusses the field research experiences of a native researcher. 

In many cases, a native is considered an insider. However, the field research took place in an ethnically polarized context where an insider researcher can be mischaracterized and amalgamated to her own ethnic community.

Besides polarization, the fieldwork took place in a volatile setting to the extent that it increases security concerns for a researcher who belongs to a 'contested community'; meaning the researcher’s position is likely associated with his ethnic community.

Based on the field experience, the article shares insights of dealing with this complexity, volatility, and uncertainties. While the article does not claim that insights can be generalized across different contexts, it specifically proposes some attitudes to take when a researcher faces a dilemma of touching the ground realities while he might individually be amalgamated within socio-cultural differences. The article recalls the necessity of understanding the effects of socio-cultural polarization within the academic field.

Read the full article - Fieldnotes, Field Research, and Positionality of a 'Contested-Native Researcher'