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Challenges in Conducting Ethnography Among Hidden Populations in Rural South India

von Gaudecker, Jane R.

Journal of Neuroscience Nursing: December 2018 - Volume 50 - Issue 6 - p 351–355
doi: 10.1097/JNN.0000000000000399

ABSTRACT International qualitative researchers confront many challenges while conducting studies among hidden populations. This article describes challenges experienced as a US-based researcher and native Indian woman conducting a focused ethnography among women with epilepsy in rural south India. The 5 challenges encountered during this research were (1) obtaining ethical approvals to conduct the study, (2) recruiting hidden participants, (3) being a halfie, (4) addressing a sensitive topic with a vulnerable population, and (5) managing researcher distress and intrapersonal conflicts. The article also details strategies used to confront these challenges.

Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Jane R. von Gaudecker, PhD RN at She is an Assistant Professor, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN.

University of Virginia Global Health Scholar award and the Skinner Scholarship funded this study. This publication was supported by the 5T32 NR007066 award from the National Institute of Nursing Research.

The contents of this study are the responsibility of the author only and do not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Nursing Research or the National Institute of Health.

The author declares no conflicts of interest.

© 2018 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses