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I’m currently working my way through Asia on a whirlwind research trip. Below are some of my key learnings for primary research in a male dominant society.

  1. Hire a translator/local researcher.
    Locals are more comfortable speaking to someone who looks like them.
  2. Sit in a cafe and observe for a couple of hours.
    Let the locals get comfortable with you there (in the area you’re doing research), observe typical behaviors and activities that occur, the type of people who come in and out. etc.
  3. Spend the money.
    Eat food that won’t get you sick;
    Bring the medicine to get you well when you accept that glass of tea;
    Buy the equipment you need (ie. get a good camera that works non-stop).
  4. Be prepared for weather extremes.
    Being outside in 40 degree weather all day may be fine for the locals, but you’ll need appropriate gear whether you’re in F/C territory.
  5. Ask permission.
  6. Know what’s appropriate for the culture.