Qualitative research presents unique challenges to researchers, including building trust with the study’s population, communicating effectively and navigating cultural differences.
“Qualitative Research in an Asian Context,” a video interview hosted by Social Science Space sister site Methodsapace on September 6, brought together the eponymous handbook’s co-editors for a discussion on its creation and the importance of having resources specific to an Asian cultural context.
Panelists Arceli Rosario, president of the Adventist University of the Philippines, and Safary Wa-Mbaleka, a professor at Bethel University, joined interviewer Janet Salmons to discuss the purpose of the handbook’s creation. This discussion came as part of Methodspace’s September Focus on the cultural dimensions of research and academic writing.
The handbook provides guidance on qualitative research in Asia and involving Asian immigrants, and addresses topics including climate change, scientific advancements and socioeconomic issues. Contributors were from diverse backgrounds, including several countries in Asia, as well as other continents.
Co-editors Rosario and Wa-Mbaleka created the handbook after both having taught and researched in Asia, which led them to recognize the need for resources to enable other researchers to be successful despite the challenges cultural differences can pose.
Rosario spoke about how being Filipino helped inform her about successful methodologies in qualitative research, including utilizing oral narratives.
“As a people, we love to talk, and we love to share matters that are private to us. It’s natural for us [to talk] to people who may not be close to us… about feelings, or how we look at things,” she said. “When I did my master’s and my dissertation, I chose qualitative research because I felt it’s a natural thing for me to do that.”
Wa-Mbaleka emphasized the importance of cultural sensitivity in Asian qualitative research considering the diverse cultures, subcultures and linguistic groups present across Asia and Asian communities.
“In addition to having one thing we call a ‘national identity’ or ‘cultural identity,’ you still have some subcultures that, when we are conducting research… [you] need to know these differences,” he said.
This 40-minute webinar was sponsored by SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space.
Arceli Rosario is the president of the Adventist University of the Philippines and serves as the president of the Asian Qualitative Research Association.
Safary Wa-Mbaleka is an associate professor at Bethel University and the founding president of the Asian Qualitative Research Association. He was previously the dean of postgraduate studies at the Adventist University of Africa.
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