The boundaries of research in an authoritarian state

Saltanat Janenova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This article provides a reflective analysis of a local scholar on methodological challenges of conducting research in Kazakhstan — a post-Soviet, authoritarian, Central Asian country. It specifically addresses the problems of getting access to government officials and the quality of data, describes the strategies applied by the researcher to mitigate these obstacles, and discusses the impact of the political environment on decisions relating to the research design, ethical integrity, safety of participants and researchers, and publication dilemma. This article will be of interest both for researchers who are doing or planning to conduct research in Kazakhstan and Central Asia and those who are researching in nondemocratic contexts as methodological challenges of an authoritarian regime stretch beyond the geographical boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of Qualitative Methods
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Q method
  • interviews
  • focus group
  • authoritarian


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