Contextual Reflexivity: Towards Contextually Relevant Research with South African HIV/AIDS Home-Based Care Volunteers

  • Thirusha Naidu University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Yvonne Sliep University of KwaZulu Natal


What are the processes through which researchers understand context and its value in the qualitative research process? This is an important question for researchers to consider and is especially pertinent in non-Western environments where Western research precepts have traditionally been followed. This article proposes that continually addressing ethics in practice (ethical reflexivity) and maintaining methodological reflexivity keeps the researcher on the path to a deeper and broader perspective of the contextual salience of emerging data. The combination of the latter, which is referred to as ‘contextual reflexivity,’ produces an iterative-reflective-generative process, consistent with an Afrocentric view on research. This process includes ethical reflection on research activity beyond institutional requirements, as well as inter-relational reflexivity. Field material and reflective research journal extracts from a study on HIV/AIDS home-based care and support volunteers’ (HBCVs) identity provide illustration of this process in practice.

Author Biographies

Thirusha Naidu, University of KwaZulu-Natal
Department of behavioural Medicine Senior Clinical Psychologist School of Psychology Doctoral Candidate
Yvonne Sliep, University of KwaZulu Natal
Associate Professor School of Psychology