Methodological challenges of cross-language qualitative research with South Asian communities living in the UK
Authors: Sidhu, Manbinder S.; Kokab, Farina; Jolly, Kate; Marshall, Tom; Gale, Nicola K.; Gill, Paramjit
Objective: We investigate (1) the influence of ethnic, gender, and age concordance with interviewers and (2) how expression of qualitative data varies between interviews delivered in English and community languages (Punjabi/Urdu) with monolingual and bilingual participants across three generations of the Indian Sikh and Pakistani Muslim communities living in the UK.
Methods: We analyzed and interpreted semi-structured interview transcripts that were designed to collect data about lifestyles, disease management, community practices/beliefs, and social networks. First, qualitative content analysis was applied to transcripts. Second, a framework was applied as a guide to identify cross-language illustrations where responses varied in length, expression and depth.
Results: Participant responses differed by language and topic. First-generation migrants when discussing religion, culture, or family practice were far likelier to use group or community narratives and give a longer response, indicating familiarity with or importance of such issues. Ethnic and gender concordance generated greater rapport between researchers and participants centered on community values and practices. Further, open-ended questions that were less direct were better suited for first-generation migrants.
Conclusion: Community-based researchers need more time to complete interviews in second languages, need to acknowledge that narratives can be contextualized in both personal and community views, and reframe questions that may lead to greater expression. Furthermore, we detail a number of recommendations with regard to validating the translation of interviews from community languages to English as well as measures for testing language proficiency.
Document Type: Research Article