Insider’s Rapport? Take a Visit to a Philippine Coastal Community with Dr Nelson Turgo, Social Scientist

Dr Nelson Turgo, Cardiff Univ. Photo: Cardiff Univ website

This highly readable account of a social scientist’s experience in returning to his own community to conduct research will make field researchers reflect on, how, as Dr Turgo says, “our identities as researchers are made and remade through the research process”. The gender insights are also revealing, such as what women and men do after a fisheries crisis and how men view fish marketing when it had previously been women’s work.

‘I Know Him So Well’: Contracting/tual ‘Insiderness’, and Maintaining Access and Rapport in a Philippine Fishing Community

by Nelson Turgo
Cardiff University

Abstract: ” ‘Insider’ researchers are generally conceived to have an epistemic privilege in the field over ‘outsider’ researchers, especially around the issues of gaining access and building rapport with research participants. However, access and rapport once secured must be continuously maintained and this poses several methodological challenges to the researcher. This can be a particular problem if the people being researched have an intimate knowledge of the researcher’s life. This intimate knowledge can affect the maintenance of access and rapport with research participants, particularly in a small community characterised by insecure economic prospects and whose members’ survival could be affected by the researcher’s political experience. Based on an ethnographic study of a fishing community in the Philippines, this article is concerned with the various nuances of maintaining access and rapport in one’s own community and its ever-evolving economic and political conditions, which then contribute to the shifting positionality of ‘insider’ researchers’ status in the field.

Download it on Sociological Research Online

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