Researching subsidised housing: the challenge of getting the community on board
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Community entry is the starting point when conducting research in urban dwellings. HSRC researchers encountered some interesting challenges with community entry while researching beneficiary satisfaction with subsidised housing in Gauteng. Catherine Ndinda, Konosoang Sobane, Charles Hongoro and Tholang Mokhele report.
Despite being trained to conduct fieldwork, most researchers often experience challenges in accessing targeted communities for data collection at grassroots level.
These challenges include being denied access because someone associated the colour of a fieldwork uniform with a certain political party, because of their race or because of an association with foreigners or a language group that is not dominant in the study area. Some have been denied access on suspicion of being criminals or mistaken for officials of departments considered not to be delivering services to the communities, and threatened with violence. The challenges experienced often result in refusal to collect data and costly delays, which affect research timelines and delivery to the clients.