Doing qualitative fieldwork in Cuba: Social research in politically sensitive locations

  • Bell K
  • 24


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 4


    Citations of this article.


Cuba, a country that is often portrayed as an isolated, secretive and bureaucratic dictatorship, would appear to present many challenges for a social researcher intent on eliciting the genuine opinions of the native population. However, in December 2008, I began just such an investigation, researching ‘environmental justice’ (i.e. the social and distributive impacts of environmental policy and practice) in the country, using a mixture of interview and participant observation techniques. As might be expected, much of the fieldwork was dominated by the sensitive political context, creating numerous methodological issues and dilemmas, as well as personal challenges. This paper looks at the difficulties faced, in particular with regard to the problem of attaining reliability and validity, and the strategies that were used to overcome them. It will be of relevance to anyone considering carrying out fieldwork investigations in socialist, and other politically sensitive, locations.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cuba
  • fieldwork locations
  • qualitative research
  • research
  • socialist

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Karen Bell

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free