An Approach to Conducting Cross-Language Qualitative Research with People from Multiple Language Groups

  • Caroline Elizabeth FryerEmail author
Reference work entry


Language expression and comprehension is fundamental for in-depth research interviews, representing both the data and the communication process by which data are generated. A lack of shared preferred language between researcher and participant creates complexity and additional challenges in the research process, particularly when there are participants from multiple language groups. A common solution is to exclude participants on the basis of language preference; yet, there is a need for studies to reflect the diversity of contemporary communities. This chapter introduces a research approach and methods which have been successfully used to conduct in-depth interviews with people from multiple language groups in a constructivist grounded theory study. The approach requires the researcher to be both reflexive and adaptable in their research practice and to develop good relationships with participants and language interpreters. Key strategies are presented for conducting culturally competent and rigorous research in this unique context at modest cost. Adoption of this approach can enable health researchers to take “able to speak English” out of the inclusion criteria of studies and conduct inclusive research with culturally diverse communities.


Language Interpreters Translation Interviews Qualitative Grounded theory research Constructivist paradigm 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sansom Institute for Health ResearchUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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