Conducting ethnographic research in male-dominated environments: Reflections of a(n) (emotional) female researcher

Rebecca O'Hanlon, Chris Mackingtosh, Hannah Holmes, Rosie Meek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article contributes to the field of qualitative research by shining a light on the additional and invisible work demanded of female ethnographers undertaking research in male-dominated spaces. It draws on an 18-month ethnographic study exploring the potential of sport and physical activity as a tool to support the transition of male veterans from the military into civilian life. Previous literature has explored the experiences of female ethnographers, hinting at some of this additional necessary work. This study builds upon this, to highlight the invisible and additional management processes required of female ethnographers in male-dominated spaces, including the management of events, managing image and gender performance and the multi-layered demands of managing emotions. This article argues that a greater degree of effort and labour is demanded of female ethnographers, which should be acknowledged in academic writing alongside the provision of support when entering male-dominated research spaces.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Oct 2023

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