Using Qualitative Interviews to Find Data or Answers in Cultural Communities?

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


The main focus of this paper is to understand how qualitative methodology such as interviews could be a preferred way to explore and understand cultural practices such as Female Genital Cutting (FGC) in conservative societies like the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This paper explores how researchers from similar backgrounds can use semi-structured interviews as an effective way to gain a deeper understanding about a practice that has not been acknowledged by the government and is rarely discussed in public. Considering the sensitive nature of this topic within Pakistani society and the ethical fragility of this kind of research which is pursued through western academic institutions or university settings; it is essential to acknowledge the cultural notions involved in research design methodology. This paper takes a closer look at why narratives or story-telling concepts can be useful in gathering data about non-white cultures and communities. These ideas will be investigated through an ongoing thesis title, “Political invisibility of Female Genital Cutting in Pakistani society: Understanding this tradition and its implications on women in the Dawoodi Bohra community”. The research design includes interviews of women who had FGC performed on them as young girls, and it uncovers the complexities and sensitives that need to be considered when analysing or presenting this data. This research design is based on the premise that there are no government statements, statistics or discussions about FGC in Pakistan; and therefore, this research is a qualitative stepping stone towards collecting data about this cultural practice which is shrouded in secrecy. It examines FGC within a close-knit community of Pakistan known as Dawoodi Bohras and establishes a nuanced understanding of qualitative data in cultural settings. In essence, it outlines the significance of story-telling and sharing during interviews which leads to useful qualitative data analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event8th Biennial ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference (Online) -
Duration: 23 Nov 202224 Nov 2022


Conference8th Biennial ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference (Online)
Internet address


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