Journeys into Inner/Outer Space: Reflections on the Methodological Challenges of Negotiating Insider/Outsider Status in International Educational Research

Nicola Savvides, Joanna Al-Youssef, Mindy Colin, Cecilia Garrido

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


This article highlights key theoretical and methodological issues and implications of being an insider/outsider when undertaking qualitative research in international educational settings. It first addresses discourses of ‘self’ and ‘other’, noting that identity and belonging emerge from fluid engagement between researchers and participants. It considers the benefits and challenges of being an insider or outsider and questions the traditional insider/outsider dichotomy. The role of ‘critical reflexivity’ in helping researchers conscientiously negotiate through ‘the space between’ is examined. The discussion is illustrated with examples from the authors' research focusing on the opportunities, challenges and tensions experienced as insiders/outsiders. They argue that engaging in critical reflexivity is important for working towards ethical and credible research as it enables the researcher to consider and make transparent how their positionality impacts on the entire research process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-425
Number of pages14
JournalResearch in Comparative and International Education
Issue number4
Early online date1 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


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