The frustrations and future of teaching qualitative methods to researchers in the Arab world
Hania Sholkamy, American University in Cairo
Qualitative methods are in high demand in Arab countries. However the reasons for this popularity are confused and confusing. This paper argues that the current demand is for methods de-contextualized from the rigours of methodology. The argument is based on the authors experiences of teaching qualitative methods to demographers and health researchers from over 14 Arab countries in both academic and policy contexts. The paper discusses the difficulty of building research capacity and of adding insight and power to demographic knowledge in the current political, intellectual, and research environment that is dominant in Arab countries. The current quest for methods without methodology mirror the unresolved aspects of the relationship between anthropology and demography that plague the field of population. The paper makes concrete recommendations of how methodological capacity can be enhanced innovatively through critical revision of training as an industry and of multidisciplinarity as a principal of demographic investigation.
Presented in Session 169: Non-quantitative methods and strategies