Pros and Cons of a Religious Identity in a Religious Setting in Qualitative Research: An Example of a Muslim Researcher in a Muslim Setting

Yıldırım F.

International Conference on Identity Studies, Vienna, Austria, 26 - 27 July 2014, pp.3-4

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Summary Text
  • City: Vienna
  • Country: Austria
  • Page Numbers: pp.3-4
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Identifying researcher researching identity has been a crucial issue in qualitative studies. It seems

more indisputable for the religious identity of a researcher when conducting a field research related

to religious identity in a religious setting. To deepen the issue of the researcher’s identity, in this

paper, I seek to reflect on methodological aspects of qualitative research in a religious/Muslim

setting as a Muslim researcher, where I conducted a field research in the largest ethnically Somali

mosque in Columbus, Ohio, USA by being a participant observer and conducting in-depth interviews

with adolescents in order to find out the role of mosque in identity formation among Somali


This paper is divided into two parts. First, I briefly present the findings of my research, which are

categorized as identity transformation and identity conflict of Somali Muslim adolescents, who have

regularly attended the mosque activities. Second, I discuss the advantages and challenges of being a

Muslim researcher in a Muslim research setting. Finally, I conclude with some proposals to maximize

the quality of research in a Muslim setting as a Muslim/non-Muslim researcher and how to lessen

possible hindrances to the quality of research in these particular settings.