Giving Them a Choice: Qualitative Research Participants Chosen Pseudonyms as a Reflection of Self-Identity

Lea Itzik, Sophie D. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The use of pseudonyms in qualitative research is common and aims to preserve the anonymity of the participants. However, there is a lack of consensus on how pseudonyms should be chosen in qualitative research among ethnic populations. The present study examines how transferring the decision as to the choice of the pseudonym to the participants themselves can illuminate aspects of their identity. The study is based on semi-structured in-depth interviews conducted with 36 young Israeli-Ethiopians. Two main themes emerged from the data which we felt were relevant to the issue of pseudonym choice: The first concerned the declarations of identity (Ethiopian, Israeli, and integrated) of the young people in the study, and the second concerned their choice of pseudonyms (in Hebrew or Amharic). Most participants chose Hebrew pseudonyms. The discussion suggests two identity profiles—Reactive and Agency—that correspond to the relationship between the identity declaration and the pseudonym chosen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)705-721
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.


The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The article was based on a doctoral research that was funded by the Israel Scholarship Education Foundation (ISEF).

FundersFunder number
Israel Scholarship Education Foundation


    • agency profile
    • ethnic identity
    • pseudonym
    • reactive profile
    • young Ethiopian


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