Black on Brown: Research Paradoxes for Black Scholars Working in Ethnic Communities

Catheryn Khoo, Samuel Adeyinka-Ojo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


A review of extant ethical literature and reflexivity in tourism research indicate there are limited studies. In most tourism literature, reflexivity and the role of researchers were understudied by the tourism scholars. The purpose of reflexivity is to provide an overview of how a research is conducted, the context in which the research is conducted, and the reliability of the actual data. In other words, the major reflexive thought is the role of the researcher in the data collection and data analysis to produce credible findings. Therefore, the aim of this chapter is to beam a searchlight and bring to the forefront the importance of reflexivity and researcher’s role in tourism-related research. This study is positioned to produce a reflective narrative of the experience of the first author during a case study fieldwork for over two consecutive years between July 2012 and September 2014. The main study context is Bario, a remote village in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak in east Malaysia. The principal investigator is a foreigner from sub-Saharan Africa, a nonnative language speaker, conducting research with the indigenous people of Malaysia in a remote destination. In this chapter, we address the issue of ethical dilemmas and highlight the intersections of race, gender, and other power positions on the research process.

This study has implications for theory, practice, and the host community. From the theoretical view, this study contributes to the previous calls that there is a need to develop a reflexive practice by the tourism researchers. From the practical perspective, it reinforces the credibility of qualitative research in tourism through a reflexive account of the researcher of the process involved in data collection, analysis, and production of findings. Finally, it allows researchers to develop harmonious relationships among the respondents who are majorly from the host community during and after the completion of the research, otherwise known as “post-fieldwork relationship management.”
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAsian Qualitative Research in Tourism
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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