Reflections from One Latino Field: Notes from Research Among Central Americans in the United States

Cahiers des Amériques Latines. 2003;42:69-80 DOI 10.4000/cal.7158


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Cahiers des Amériques Latines

ISSN: 1141-7161 (Print); 2268-4247 (Online)

Publisher: Université Paris 3

Society/Institution: Institut des Hautes Etudes de l'Amérique Latine

LCC Subject Category: History America: Latin America. Spanish America | Social Sciences: Social sciences (General)

Country of publisher: France

Language of fulltext: French

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Cecilia Menjívar


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 32 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Based on more than a decade of research in Central American immigrant communities in different US cities, I share reflections about my interactions with study participants in the different communities I have studied. I recount how my multiple social characteristics, experiences, and trajectories have deeply affected the dynamics of such interactions. Paradoxically, those same characteristics that might facilitate access to a particular individual or groups can simultaneously hinder data collection among the same group. Highlighting differences and similarities between my study participants and myself, I argue that far from being a detached observer, the qualitative researcher is engaged in the act of conducting research, and thus, personal characteristics of both the researcher and the researched shape the nature of the data gathered, the analysis, and ultimately what is written.