Methodological Reflections: Inter- ethnic Research: Life Trajectories of young adults project in Denmark

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This article reflects on the methodological and epistemological aspects of the ethical issues involved in encounters between researcher and research participants with ethnic minority background in contexts with diversity. Specific challenges involved in longitudinal research (10 - 15 years) are also considered. The issues related to the social relevance of the research deriving from psycho political validity implying consideration of power dynamics in the personal, relational and collective domains are included.

The primary basis for these reflections is a follow-up study concerning young adults’ life trajectories including ethnic minority and ethnic majority young adults (n= 9) in Denmark; the first wave conducted in the mid-nineties and the second wave 10 years later. In addition, some issues are taken up from a research project about youth intimate partnership formation patterns with both youth and the parental generation with ethnic minority background in Denmark.

These reflections include implications and challenges related to researcher’s national, ethnic background and educational, professional position in encounter with   diverse ‘researched persons’ such as youth and the middle aged parents originating from different countries and residing in Denmark.


The article indicates some constructive ways of conducting research in contexts with diversity such as explicit awareness about social relevance of the research, modulating position and distance with respect to being ‘insider outsider’, facilitating authenticity and voice of the participants in order to reduce the asymmetry between the researcher and the subjects. These ways contribute to productive research with psychopolitical validity, thus avoiding unfair, even exploitative research.


TidsskriftDiversity in Health and Social Care
Udgave nummer3
StatusUdgivet - 2010

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