Session 6

B2 In the Field – Experiences in Conducting Research in the Global South

When designing empirical research projects – whether quantitative or qualitative – many different aspects have to be taken into account, from the general research design to data collection, from our methodological instruments to analytical procedures. The realization itself, i.e. the fieldwork, can only be partially planned and is sometimes affected by surprises and unforeseen challenges. Focusing on quantitative research surveys in the Global South may face specific difficulties (concerning sampling, issues of cultural equivalence or data interpretation). But due to technological advancement and a growing sensitivity with regard to issues of comparability there is a lot of progress in the field which may also deserve our attention in a fruitful discussion on (global) survey methodology. But many crucial questions are equally relevant for qualitative research and for in-depth studies in different contexts. We are looking forward to contributions presenting on the one hand key results but on the other hand addressing prominently common crucial challenges we are facing during fieldwork, e.g.

• How do we assess political and social attitudes in authoritarian regimes to come to valid conclusions?

• How do we deal with certain hospitality rules or gender norms in interview constellations?

• How do we guarantee an appropriate setting for our research (e.g. quiet places, privacy and the avoidance of bystanders during the interview)?

• How do the characteristics of the researcher such as gender, race, ethnicity, or experience shape the behaviour of the respondents?

• How do these characteristics interact with potential interview questions (e.g. in surveys factual and attitudinal questions, complex scales or open-ended questions)?

We invite researchers to report on their experiences in conducting empirical research in the Global South. Of course also success stories and positive examples of accessing the field or collecting data should be reported. But we aim for providing a platform for discussing problems and difficulties encountered during the fieldwork as well and how they were dealt with (in the worst case they might have even led to the failure of the research). The aim of the session is to reflect on positive and or negative experiences in order to draw appropriate conclusions for future research projects and to improve the quality of empirical research in the long term combining and enriching our knowledge from different cultural settings.