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language, nursing research, pediatric obesity



  1. Chatham, Rebecca E.
  2. Mixer, Sandra J.


Background: Qualitative research seeking the perspectives of minority children on child health issues such as childhood obesity and healthy weight care is limited, especially in nursing research.


Objective: Our objective is to share methodological, ethical, and cross-language knowledge gained from conducting an ethnonursing research study. This study focused on providing a voice for ethnic minority children in childhood obesity literature.


Methods: The purpose of the study was to discover cultural influences on healthy weight care in children of Burmese refugees of Karen ethnicity. Researchers may exclude children of ethnic minorities from studies because of the distinct challenges in conducting cross-language research and research with children. We critically examine these challenges. The challenge of being a stranger was addressed by a period of immersion in the children's activities prior to data collection, in addition to volunteering as an English teacher with Karen adults. The immersion period was crucial for developing the trust needed in child-inclusive research and research in ethnic minority communities. The challenge of designing an inclusive study with families who experience language barriers was addressed with an interpreter who not only spoke Karen but was also a part of the Karen community. The interpreter provided the authentic sociocultural language equivalence needed for the study's rigor. Ensuring the child's voice was clearly heard was addressed with member checking. Methodological changes necessitated by a pandemic were a distinct challenge discussed in detail.


Results: We described methods useful for nurse researchers seeking transformative knowledge to reduce health disparities in childhood obesity. Nurse researchers may use these methods related to cross-language research and child research for designing research inclusive of minorities with language barriers.


Discussion: The perspectives of children from ethnic minorities are needed to inform culturally congruent healthy weight care for their communities. The goal in providing transparency of the difficulties, successes, and recommendations for methods in research with children of Burmese refugees is to encourage more nurse researchers to work with marginalized groups. Nurse researchers can inform evidence-based, culturally appropriate interventions to address health inequities of minority communities by including the voice of children from these communities.