Fieldwork in Religion, Vol 10, No 1 (2015)

The Surreptitious Scholar: The Challenges of Conducting Interviews with Iraqi-Shi’a Muslim Participants in Dearborn, Michigan

John Cappucci
Issued Date: 15 Jan 2016


In attempting to measure and compare the level of religiosity among two waves of Iraqi-Shi’a Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan, the researcher was required to interview fifty members from this diasporic community. However, attempting to conduct research with these groups proved difficult as it was believed that the researcher was either a “journalist” working for a major media outlet or, more severely, a “spy” working for a government agency and posing as a scholar. The level of suspicion initially exuded by the community proved to be a significant obstruction to this research project. In order to help dissolve the sense of suspicion that permeated the atmosphere, the researcher undertook a few unique strategies to ensure his identity and ease the fears held by the participant community.

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DOI: 10.1558/firn.v10i1.24040



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