Community Gatekeeper Identification – Term Paper


When conducting a stakeholder analysis, it is prudent to determine the various types of stakeholders. Stakeholders are defined as any party who would be interested in the research project in terms of the conduct of the research, the participants and the population samples of the results, and the results of the research, whether published or not. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the concept of the “gatekeepers” with regards to stakeholder analysis in a research study. In order to achieve the objective, the paper shall identify the gatekeepers for a poverty and hunger research study in the community, and divide them into the informal and the formal gate keepers. The paper shall then provide a rationale for the identification criteria and the steps which are to be followed in gaining access to the participant population through the gatekeepers with rationale on the step selection process. The paper shall draw from learning materials as well as scholarly articles from the internet scholarly databases in order to form the basis of the discussion. It has been hypothesized that, from the discussion which shall ensue, a greater understanding of the stakeholder identification process as well as the buy-in process which is fundamental in data collection shall be gained.

Gatekeeper Identification

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In the identification of gatekeepers, it is important to identify and understand the social structure of the community from which samples are supposed to be taken (McAreavey & . Das, 2013). Social structures, which are normally built on culture, determine who can represent the community in a public setting. Modern communities are normally divided into formal and informal structures. The formal structures are those which are established through legal and governmental processes. The informal structures are those which are established through cultural inferences which are influenced by tradition and belief systems (McAreavey & . Das, 2013). 

Poverty and hunger are social problems which affect the community at large and therefore, it is important to determine who the gatekeepers are in order to gain access to the population sample (McAreavey & . Das, 2013). For the research study identified, the formal gatekeepers identified are; the local government authority which includes the municipality and town officials; the federal agencies which monitor economic and health levels of the community, the local religious leaders; and the administrative leaders such as local police authorities (McAreavey & . Das, 2013). These formal gatekeepers have been identified from their power of influence on the population under study. They will play a vital role in communicating to the population on the intended research. They have trust which has been formed from administering and serving the community and they will be therefore more easily be listened to by the members of the community.

The informal gatekeepers include; heads of families, local celebrities and personalities, local establishment owners, and indigenous family members (McAreavey & . Das, 2013). The rationale for this selection of informal gatekeepers is that, the informal gatekeepers would be highly beneficial in building trust between the researcher and the members of the community. Due to the respect which they would have gained in their daily interactions with the members of the population sample, they are able to convince them on the necessities of conducting the research, as well as communicate the purpose of the research to the members of the community. Additionally, it is these members of the community who are more likely to understand the underlying issues of the community and they can more easily identify areas of study which the researcher may not have been aware of.

Steps in Gaining Access to the Sample Population

The steps which are necessary to gaining buy in from the gate keepers would normally be dependent on the purpose of the study, as well as the culture of the society and community being studied. There are three basic types of access which a researcher would need in order to gain the information needed for him to conclude the study; physical access which is being allowed to visit the area of the community under study; continued access which is access to interaction with members of the community; and mental access which refers to access to the perceptions of the population under study in trying to answer why a particular phenomenon in happening (Johl & Renganathan, 2010). The steps involved have been described simply as, getting in, getting on, getting out, and getting back (Buchanan, Boddy, & McCalman, 2014). These steps must be addressed in order to avoid the ethical implications of social research. Getting in refers to the first meeting with the gatekeepers (Buchanan, Boddy, & McCalman, 2014). The researcher is first supposed to have access to the gatekeepers themselves and convince them on the importance of conducting the research. This point of first contact can be done through communication on the purpose of the research to the gatekeepers and the importance of the research to the community. The researcher may choose to strategize the first meeting in order to make the gatekeepers feel accommodated in the results of the study. In getting on, the researcher should now address the continued access (Buchanan, Boddy, & McCalman, 2014). The gate keepers should be made aware of the methods of the study, such as observation or questionnaires. The researcher should also let the gatekeepers aware of their movements within the community including where they will be hosted while they conduct the research. Getting out refers to the last meeting after the study has been conducted (Buchanan, Boddy, & McCalman, 2014). Here the researcher notifies the gatekeepers on the completion of the study. Getting back refers to the step which the researcher will achieve in giving back the recommendations which shall have been concluded in the study (Buchanan, Boddy, & McCalman, 2014).


The purpose of this study was to identify community gatekeepers for a poverty and hunger research, give rationale for their identification criteria, provide the steps in gaining community buy-in, and give rationale for the steps selected. The paper has established the importance of gatekeeper buy-in as well as the important steps which would result in the reduced likelihood of ethical implications of sampling. In conclusion therefore, gatekeeper identification and the community buy-in process are fundamental steps in data collection which requires careful planning and consideration in the planning phases of research.


Buchanan, D., Boddy, D., & McCalman, J. (2014). Getting in getting on getting out and getting back (Vol. 3). SAGE Publications Inc.

Johl, S. K., & Renganathan, S. (2010). Strategies for Gaining Access in Doing Fieldwork: Reflection of two Researchers. The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 8, (1) , 42-50.

McAreavey, R., & . Das, C. (2013). A delicate balancing act: Negotiating with gatekeepers for ethical research when researching minority communities. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 12(1), 113-131.