Sampling Hurdles: “Borderline Illegitimate” to Legitimate Data

Anupama Garg

Abstract


In this paper the author discusses how sampling access and recruitment problems encountered in an in-depth interview study heightened her sensitivity to “borderline illegitimate” data. The term illegitimate data usually refers to the data collected during a covert study, whereas “legitimate” data are collected during an overt study. Hence, data collected during any nonconsented period(s) of an overt study lie on the borderline of illegitimacy and legitimacy, and constitute what the author calls borderline illegitimate data. Such data need legitimization before use. The borderline illegitimate data were collected during the pre- and postinterview stages of her study as they explained how medical and ethnic cultures and sensitivity to racism as a topic combined to create sample recruitment difficulties of the study. The author later legitimized them by sharing them with the participants, guaranteeing anonymity, and asking their permission to use them.

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