Outsider in: Race, attraction, and research in New Orleans

Robert L. Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses how race, attraction, and a researcher's identity with a community can both hamper and help qualitative research. Using a critical perspective, the author reflects on the experiences that shaped his research in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. He raises a series of ethical questions about the nexus of race, attraction, and identity in conducting qualitative interviews as a Black man with a largely low-income, female, and African American population. He explores the role that his self-identity played in study design, recruitment, and participation and addresses how he experienced race and dealt with attraction in his attempts to be regarded as an external insider by the community. Research considerations and ethical implications are explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-261
Number of pages13
JournalQualitative Inquiry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Attraction
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • New Orleans
  • Qualitative research
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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