chapter  5
17 Pages

Ethnic and language matching of the researcher and the research group during design, fieldwork and analysis


There is a widely held opinion in social research that the answers given may depend on who asked the questions. In other words, the identity of the interviewer1 can shape the input to the research and hence its outcome. Like any individual, interviewers get their sense of identity from many sources: culture; religion; colour of skin; age; gender; ethnicity; nationality; social class; sexuality; educational qualifications; language; employment; health status; and so on. With reference to the theme of this chapter, this raises a fundamental question: when so many factors are at play, is it possible to identify the influence of ethnic and language matching? We shall return to this question later in the chapter, but let us begin by taking a step back and considering why we want to ethnic and language match in the first place.