Undertaking qualitative research that involves native Chinese people

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To describe the dynamics of the Chinese people who will be encountered in a study in which an advanced psychiatric nurse will interview her colleagues to explore their experiences using interpretative phenomenological analysis.


Relationships play an important part in qualitative research. The people who will be involved in this study are Chinese and the study will be based on the assumption that Chinese people consider the maintenance of harmony in social interactions desirable.

Data source

Concerns expressed by the researchers and participants about balancing the behaviour that they are expected to display during interactions while ensuring research quality.


methods Reflections on how data collection and analysis in interpretative phenomenological analysis can be affected by inter-relationships among Chinese people and researchers.


Understanding the complexity of people's behaviours that can emerge during the research process is essential. The cultural context of those being researched and of the researchers themselves can impact on interactions and can be assessed before the study takes place.


The authors suggest that developing an alliance between researchers and participants and a partnership between the research student and supervisor is an effective strategy for maintaining harmonious relationships without compromising research quality.

Implications for practice/research

Chinese people have some unique behavioural rules in their interactions with others, which researchers need to consider during the research process. Strategies can be developed to ensure a harmonious relationship can be developed and local factors can be accommodated.

Cite this article as: Fung Y, Chan Z, Chien W (2013) Undertaking qualitative research that involves native Chinese people. Nurse Researcher. 21, 1, 29-33.

Date of submission: October 4 2012. Date of acceptance: February 22 2013.

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