Confessions of a rookie qualitative researcher

Friday marked the start of my new career as a qualitative researcher, collecting data for my Master’s dissertation. Many challenges to be overcome, not least the added issue of needing to use a translator whilst attempting to overcome the natural shyness and reticence of the Bakiga women. However you can’t help but fall head over heels for them with their shy but generous smiles, warm spirits and sparkling eyes.

We travelled for a good hour over some of the worst roads I have yet encountered, riven with deep gulleys and often surfaced with bare rock, 15 of us in one landrover, to a remote health centre where the hospital team were running an antenatal, child health and immunisation clinic.

My translator is Jackie, a care assistant from the maternity ward, who took to her new role with great enthusiasm and ability. My aim is to discover what fears and anxieties the women have regarding labour, and how they would aim to travel to their intended place of delivery and to assess the acceptability of the Mother’s waiting home which we will open next Friday at Kisiizi. Judging from the reactions so far the home is likely to be hugely oversubscribed.

Over the next few weeks I am planning to talk to a number of women who live different distances from the hospital to see if distance is a factor in their plans for what they want to do towards the end of pregnancy.

The next phase of the dissertation is then to set up an audit tool for recording who uses the mother’s home, for what reasons and what their outcomes are. I hope this is all going to work, I have rather launched out into the blue with regard to qualitative research, armed with little more than three books about how to do it on my Kindle!