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APSY 611 - Qualitative Research Article Precis - Nina Valli Minwalla, O., Simon Roser, B. R., Feldman, J., & Varga, C. (2005).

Identity experience among progressive gay Muslims in North America: A qualitatitive study within Al - Fatiha. Culture, Health, and Sexuality, 7, 113-128. Research Question and Rationale There was a clear statement of the research aims, importance, and relevance. Minwalla, Simon Roser, Feldman, & Varga (2005) maintained that a positive appreciation of one’s sexual orientation is essential to spiritual and psychosocial development. However, many religious traditions reject the notion of homosexuality. This presents a multitude of challenges and critical issues for individuals attempting to integrate their gay and religious identities. Prior work conducted in North America regarding the intersection of gay and religious identities has focused mostly on Jewish and Christian traditions. Minwalla et al. (2005) reported that although homosexuality exists within the Islamic faith, they could not find any academic studies addressing the experience of integrating a gay identity with a Muslim identity in North America. As such, their qualitative study aimed to document the identity experience of progressive gay Muslim men in North America. Explication of Research Approach Minwalla et al. (2005) conducted an ethnographic study, which seems suitable for exploration of the research question. However, the authors did not discuss how or why they decided to use their chosen methodology. More specifically, the study focused on interpreting the subjective experiences of progressive gay Muslims who are part of an emerging subculture and grassroots movement for Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or questioning their sexuality (LGBTQ), called Al-Fatiha. As such, data were collected from in-depth semi-structured interviews of six self-identified gay Muslim men who attended one of two annual Al-Fatiha conferences for LGBTQ Muslims. The authors discussed their limitations with participant recruitment and relatively small sample size. In an attempt to validate the data from the interviews, the researchers chose to collect participant observation data from both conferences. The researchers outlined the interview questions and adequately justified their usage. The constant comparative method was used to formulate additional questions for subsequent interviews. With respect to ethical considerations, the authors only mentioned that they obtained informed consent and could have been more thorough in terms of how ethical standards were maintained. Analysis of the data was rigorous and explained with respect to the principles and procedures utilized. Emergent themes were generated from the data using a coding approach characteristic of grounded theory. There was a very limited discussion on internal validity and a brief discussion of limitations with external validity due to the specific and small sample population. A critical examination of the role of the researcher was not offered. Research Findings The findings were relevant to the research aims, provided new insight, and were presented in an organized manner with respect to the main themes that emerged from systematic analysis of the data. The three prominent themes of religion, East-West ethno-cultural differences, and color dynamics were divided further according to key issues requiring resolution within the gay-Muslim identity experience. The researchers successfully used illustrative examples in the form of quotes from the interview transcripts to support and enrich their presentation and interpretation of the data. Credibility of the findings and their contribution to existing knowledge was discussed. New areas for research were identified.