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Gender and Positionality: Opportunities, Challenges, and Ethical Dilemmas in Ghana and Sierra Leone

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Abstract

Positionality and intersectional gender identities are critical to the experience and outcomes of research. Van den Boogaard argues for a more reflexive and self-critical approach to research design and fieldwork, drawing on her research experiences in Ghana and Sierra Leone. She describes how gender identity may be both a limiting factor and an opportunity for female researchers, and addresses two ethical considerations that are insufficiently addressed by the current methodological literature. First, what are the implications of remaining passive in the face of dynamics between a researcher and research participant that reinforce inequality and a conventional gender hierarchy? Second, can a research participant give informed consent while at the same time believing that the researcher is powerless on account of their position and/or gender identity? She further argues for more reflexive research methods as a manner to improve research outcomes and the personal safety of researchers in the field.

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van den Boogaard, V. (2019). Gender and Positionality: Opportunities, Challenges, and Ethical Dilemmas in Ghana and Sierra Leone. In: Jackson, R., Kelly, M. (eds) Women Researching in Africa. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94502-6_13

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94502-6_13

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