This article draws explicitly on the fieldwork challenging experiences of an ongoing PhD study which seeks to explore the role of the community in the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Northwest Region of Cameroon. It is apparent that every qualitative researcher undertaking fieldwork anticipate being confronted with challenges and difficulties in the process. Nevertheless, in spite of the anticipation of these challenges and complexity that exist in the field, as well as prior preparation, fieldwork can still be a very intense and challenging experience. This is because many unanticipated encounters arise during fieldwork, which the researchers did not see coming. Whilst acknowledging that fieldwork in qualitative research can be challenging and complex, the unanticipated and underestimated magnitude and intensity of the challenges that occurred in undertaking qualitative fieldwork in the Northwest Region of Cameroon is the interest of this paper.


Qualitative Fieldwork, Challenges, Complexities, Unanticipated, Magnitude, Cameroon

Author Bio(s)

Beryl Ndongwa Bamu is currently a PhD student at Ghent University, Belgium. Her research focuses on inclusive education and the role which the local community plays in education of people with disabilities. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: berylbamu@yahoo.co.uk.

Elisabeth De Schauwer has a PhD and is working in the field of Disability Studies at Ghent University, Belgium. Her research centers around “difference” and the influence on relationships. She is interested in strengthening interdisciplinary links between pedagogy and other disciplines like philosophy, feminism, anthropology etc. She works closely together with children, parents and schools in the praxis of inclusive education. Activism, research and teaching go hand in hand. Following people and their stories is a never ending source of inspiration for her daily work. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Elisabeth.DeSchauwer@UGent.be.

Geert Van Hove is a professor in disability studies at Ghent University (Belgium) and Free University Amsterdam (the Netherlands). His Research interest is in education and disability studies – cross over arts and science, qualitative research. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Geert.VanHove@UGent.be.

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