Strategies for Gaining Access in Doing Fieldwork: Reflection of two Researchers

Satirenjit Kaur, Johl, Sumathi Renganathan
The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods   unpublished
One of greatest pitfalls in conducting research successfully is the inability to obtain access to the research field. Obtaining access to the research field can vary to a considerable extent, depending on the kind of cases being investigated. In fact, researchers often spend considerable amount of time on this task. However, many researchers do not even describe their access to the research field in their research reports. The main aim of this paper is to share the experiences of two
more » ... s of two researchers in gaining access to fieldwork practice. We believe that the issues we discuss based on our experiences in gaining access would benefit other qualitative researchers. We also hope that comparing the experiences of two different researchers in two very different research fields would help highlight issues which are often neglected in doing qualitative research. In this paper, we present our comparison of the different approaches we used in the various stages in gaining access. We discuss our strategies in gaining access using a four stage model: pre-entry, during fieldwork, after fieldwork and getting back. Finally, we present a basic framework for gaining access successfully which other researchers can use, and also critically analyze our experiences in using the two different approaches, formal and personal, in gaining access in our respective research projects.