What challenges can race and gender present for researchers of color? As Black women, we draw on personal reflections to look back at our graduate training and its influence on how we conducted ourselves in the field as graduate students and now as researchers in the academy. We particularly consider how mainstream pedagogical approaches to teaching qualitative methods might work to marginalize researchers of color throughout the qualitative research process. We lay out these complexities, not necessarily to offer solutions but rather to allow others in similar situations to think about their own journey as we collectively move qualitative research and teaching to new heights. We conclude this article with a short discussion of the direct implications for teaching and doing qualitative research.


Teaching Qualitative Research, Reflection, Racial Consciousness, Critical Consciousness

Author Bio(s)

Kamesha Spates is an assistant professor in the department of Sociology at Kent State University. Her areas of specialization include the African American experience; criminology; and suicidology. She recently completed a book entitled, What Don’t Kill Us Makes Us Stronger: Black Women on Suicide, where uses interviews to uncover reasons for the racial suicide paradox. Her analysis offers a deeper understanding of the positive life strategies that underlie black women’s resilience. Some of her other works can be found in the Key Issues in Crime and Punishment series, the Sociology Compass Journal, and Journal of Pan African Studies. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Kamesha Spates at, kspates1@kent.edu.

Dr. Wangari Gichiru is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, Policy and Instructional Technology at Central Connecticut State University. She received a master's degree in in Special Education from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, and a masters degree in International Public Policy and a PhD in Curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on education and development in contested areas and the perspectives of key stakeholders regarding the education of African immigrant students. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Wangari Gichiru at, gichiru@ccsu.edu.

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