While volumes of procedural guidelines are available on how to conduct fieldwork, in practice a researcher encounters various challenges and dilemmas in the field. This paper presents a holistic view of the puzzles this researcher encountered in gaining access, negotiating positionality, application of the pre-determined methodology, and ensuring ethics during his fieldwork with microfinance program participants in a non-Western setting. This paper contributes to the fieldwork literature by enhancing a researcher’s understanding of the unanticipated challenges.


qualitative case study, microfinance, fieldwork challenges, reflexivity, positionality, Bangladesh

Author Bio(s)

Mohammad Shahjahan Chowdhury is an Associate Professor in the Department of Public Administration of Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Bangladesh. Please direct correspondence to shahjahansust.chowdhury@gmail.com.


I would like to give thanks to my Supervisors for the valuable comments and suggestions during the fieldwork. I am also indebted to the reviewers and editors for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the manuscript. The research was supported by the grants of Shahjalal University of Science & Technology, Bangladesh

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