Globally, qualitative researchers in the academic or non-academic fields are constantly faced with the complexity of fieldwork in conducting their research in a specific environment. Despite the understanding that researchers have of the techniques to use in their research approach, a gap remains on obtaining data in different, unique contexts of society: the cultural, economic and political. The purpose of this paper is to provide a practical guide for researchers who intend to conduct qualitative research in the politically hostile environment of Zimbabwe based on the experiences of the author during the fieldwork for a PhD study. The main focus of this paper was on understanding the ethics, gatekeeping, policies and protocols to follow in conducting qualitative research among various stakeholders, namely the government, non-governmental organisations and communities. The research techniques used were both face-to-face interviews and focus group discussions. The paper argues that Zimbabwe is a country where everything is politicised or rather assumed to be politically connected, but with structures in place for researchers to follow. This paper serves as a guide or road map for academic and non-academic researchers intending to do research in Zimbabwe.


qualitative research, political environment, politics, qualitative data, focus groups, interviews

Author Bio(s)

Mr. Gabriel Musasa is a PhD candidate who has just completed his studies but awaiting examination of thesis in the Department of Development Studies at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa. Please direct correspondence to gabrielmusasa@gmail.com.


I would like to acknowledge Professor Priscilla. B. Monyai for supervising the research process

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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