Exposure to acculturative pressures have significant implications for South Asian women who become especially vulnerable to issues such as domestic violence and mental health post migration. As such, domestic violence and the related mental health concerns have become pervasive issues for South Asians, however, little is known about these issues in South Asian communities, allowing such problems to be overlooked. Likewise, scholars have not adequately addressed these problems with South Asians revealing significant concerns for the welfare of the community. Since domestic violence and mental health hold different meanings across cultures, research must critically consider how South Asians perceive these problems to fully capture the extent of this issue.
The quality and applicability of social work research fundamentally relies on how well a study has been designed to reflect the culture and intersectional needs of its participants. Accordingly, it becomes imperative to move away from using “Western” models of research with South Asian immigrants. Because culture provides a broad framework for understanding the world and helps people make sense of their daily experiences, a researcher's ability to consider the study population's culture at every stage of research establishes overall rigor and relevance. Without this framework, eliciting information from South Asians as well as other ethnically diverse populations becomes a futile endeavor for social work students and scholars.
This roundtable session will begin a dialogue among social work scholars that will encourage exploration into adapting research methodologies for ensuring culturally competency with South Asian communities. By centering the core cultural values and belief systems that prevail in South Asian American communities, we will discuss strategies for collecting data on domestic violence and mental health issues using quantitative (survey design, standardized instruments, questionnaires) and qualitative methodologies (focus groups, narrative inquiry). Integral to conducting research with vulnerable immigrant populations, we will raise culturally-specific ethical considerations and discuss culturally apt techniques for minimizing the unique risks these groups might face. Upon completion of this roundtable discussion, participants will be able to: (a) explain the implications of applying western-based approaches to linguistically and culturally diverse populations; (b) discuss culturally competent techniques for data collection, analysis, and interpretation; and (c) describe the ethics of research with South Asian immigrant participants. Our goal is to stimulate an interactive discussion that will deliver insight into culturally competent research and practice as a means for expanding the current state of knowledge to ultimately better serve and meet the needs of South Asians.