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After visiting the research site continuously over a period of time, they became more familiar with me and thus opened up to the idea of participating in my study. Interpreters/translators and cross-language research: Reflexivity and border crossings. I also ensured that I hired a local research assistant, and I realised that my association with a local gave me a greater deal of legitimacy in the eyes of my potential research respondents. PS: Political Science and Politics, 23(3), pp.451–455. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1(2), pp.1-12. Generally, the research assistant was highly opinionated and in some instances tried to impose his political views on my respondents.
Looking back, I would have placed less emphasis on the elite sample group as primary data was not necessary for addressing my research questions concerning government policy. I was often required to submit a formal application to access these files, and although I formally submitted a request letter to the Ministry of Urban Development, my efforts proved futile, and it became increasingly frustrating for me to access the data sets I needed.In some of the interviews, I found that political elites provided evasive answers because of the politically sensitive nature of some of the questions posed. (1990) suggests that political elites should ideally not be interviewed using recording devices as it can cause elusiveness and anxiety – although I did not use a recorder, I continued to receive elusive responses which sometimes left me frustrated and disillusioned with my project.In my opinion, this was indicative of the lack of training which the translator received and I learned to not just assume that job roles were obvious, especially in this context. In instances where omissions were obvious, I questioned the translator to gain further details. Reflections on interviewing foreign elites: praxis, positionality, validity, and the cult of the insider. The first group of interviewees that I targeted comprised of government officials and the second comprised of a group people living in slums.The elite interviews were generally semi-structured in nature and were based on open- and closed-ended questions.There were several instances where I also noticed that the translation process was not as effective as it should be during the fieldwork process. Due to my increasing familiarity with local dialects, I was able to discern when the translator was not providing the full picture with respect to the responses of the respondents. I could have saved time and effort in sourcing this information from secondary sources such as government reports and books. I also would have employed a local researcher much earlier in the process as it paved the way for gaining the trust of respondents.