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Title: The Intermediate Zone: Opportunities and Challenges for Qualitative Research Across Cultures
Contributor(s): Ditton, M (author)
Publication Date: 2006
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Abstract: Introduction: Qualitative research with informants who are in the "intermediate zone" between home and host culture is more common with globalisation nowadays, and is a challenging research strategy. In Australia, post-graduate doctoral students in public health from developing countries are deluged with literature and technology appropriate to Western cultures. When they return to their home countries, they face the task of transposing the knowledge they have gained to suit a totally different set of conditions. The action research described here was aimed at helping students develop work skills more appropriate to their home-country requirements. Methods: Thirteen students participated in weekly discussion groups within the framework of health issues they were likely to face in their home cultures. The discussions were taped and transcribed. Analysis of the texts was in the sociological tradition, in order to understand the experience of the students in this complex intercultural context. Findings: The students encountered the following difficulties in gathering useful and applicable knowledge in relation to the development of transferable skills: • language barriers (e.g. comprehension of prescribed texts; and scholarly writing in English); • cultural barriers (e.g. insensitive treatment; difficulty in coping in a foreign environment; and • inappropriate course contents and doctoral thesis topics. Conclusions: The symbolic interactionist perspective and qualitative analysis of the intertextual data of the group process provide credibility in understanding the ambiguous position (the "intermediate zone") post-graduate students from developing countries are in. They are involved in detailed work, the meaning of which changes for them as they move from home to host culture and back again. Challenges were to analyse the data, taking into account both language and culture barriers; and propose a better approach to providing education across cultures as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: 7th Advances in Qualitative Methods International Conference, Surfers Paradise, Australia, 13th - 16th July, 2006
Conference Details: 7th Advances in Qualitative Methods International Conference, Surfers Paradise, Australia, 13th - 16th July, 2006
Source of Publication: International Journal of Qualitative Methods: Abstracts of papers presented at the 7th Advances in Qualitative Methods International Conference
Publisher: University of Alberta
Place of Publication: online
Field of Research (FOR): 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
HERDC Category Description: E3 Extract of Scholarly Conference Publication
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