Insider-outsider positions in health-development research: reflections for practice

Recognising that the stance of investigators could make a major impact on the quality and/or interpretation of development-study findings, a small investigation to explore researcher positions and roles was implemented. This was a subsidiary component of a larger health-development study which aimed to explore the evidence base for psychosocial and mental-health policy formulation and implementation in two conflict-affected, low-resourced countries. Five of the research team were interviewed by a sixth member in an open, semi-structured interview format, and the data were analysed thematically. The primary learning for the team, with wider implications for others in development research and practice, is that if the aim is to produce credible findings from investigations of this nature, it is important to exhibit a high degree of transparency regarding the role and position of each researcher, and an explicit attempt to be reflexive in relation to the associated challenges.