This study seeks to understand the challenges encountered by qualitative researchers while investigating sensitive topics. We make a valuable contribution to the existing literature on researcher well-being and the mitigation of potential adverse incidents during data collection in studies on sensitive topics. The researchers maintained a comprehensive diary while conducting a study on the sensitive topic of work-family conflict among Indian working women. The analysis of these diary entries revealed three primary categories of challenges: (a) emotional challenges encompassing emotional sustenance, self-awareness, the element of care, building rapport, reciprocity, breaking the connection, preparing for exit, and researcher exhaustion; (b) methodological challenges, including data recording and interview location; (c) ethical challenges, such as confidentiality and guilt; and (d) other challenges, such as establishing credibility as a mainstream researcher in academics. This study aims to raise awareness about the challenges that qualitative researchers face, offering insights into potential dilemmas and explaining how reflexivity, self-disclosure, reciprocity, and a well-planned exit strategy can assist in navigating and addressing researcher biases.


diary entries, ethical challenges, methodological challenges, emotional challenges, reflexivity, self-disclosure

Author Bio(s)

Pavitra Mishra holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Management Development Institute, Gurgaon, India, and a Master's degree in Psychology with a focus on Human Resource Development and Management from Allahabad Central University, India. She currently serves as a Professor at Masters' Union, India. Pavitra has accumulated extensive experience in management teaching, with previous roles at the School of Management and Entrepreneurship, Shiv Nadar University (HCL Group), Greater Noida, and the Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak. Her academic journey is complemented by a significant research background, including publications in national and international peer-reviewed journals. She has actively participated in and organized numerous conferences of international acclaim.

Amit Gupta (Orchid ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3009-678X) is a Ph.D. holder in Organizational Behavior from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. Presently, he holds the position of Associate Professor in the OBHRM area at the Indian Institute of Management Amritsar. His academic career has also seen his contributions as a faculty member at IIM Indore, IIM Bangalore, and MDI Gurgaon. In addition to his academic roles, Amit brings valuable corporate experience, having worked with Hoechst India Limited and Wipro. His research endeavors have resulted in publications in respected journals, including Accident Analysis and Prevention, International Journal of Human Resource Management, European Management Review, and the Journal of International Management, among others. Please direct correspondence to agup2015@gmail.com

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