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Negotiating access to research sites and participants within an African context: The case of Cameroon

Joyce Afuh Vuban, Elizabeth Agbor Eta

2018 Cameroon, Africa

This article argues that localizing access – a general ethical principle – is a workable strategy that can be used in approaching participants in qualitative research across disciplines and in coping with respective institutional practices in order to collect meaningful data. This article is based on the autobiographical, lived experiences of the authors during the period of their data collection in Cameroon in 2013 and 2015, by the second and first author, respectively. Therefore, generalization across a broader context is somewhat restricted, and a closer analysis of specific cultural and situational realities is needed. The article addresses two main objectives, that is, to identify factors that inhibit and factors that facilitate access to individuals and institutions. To this end, the article employs self-reflexivity and provides valuable explanations on the workability of applying skills of negotiating access in a local cultural context.

Fieldwork experiences, localization, negotiation, qualitative research, self-reflexivity