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The aim of this study was to investigate levels of knowledge of diabetes self-care and perceived self efficacy in carrying out self-care behaviours in individuals with diabetes from South Asian backgrounds who are receiving care in the community. A second aim was to investigate the experiences of the diabetes support workers in administering questionnaires in a study population in which there is a high level of illiteracy. Participants from a study carried out in general practices in Birmingham, UK, were invited to complete two questionnaires by Asian link workers during their research appointment. After the data collection had finished, the Asian link workers took part in tape-recorded semi-structured interviews to discover what difficulties they had encountered during the data collection period. The results demonstrated that although more than 60% of those approached agreed to complete the questionnaires, the majority were assisted by the Asian link workers. The in-depth interviews with the link workers suggested that these questionnaire data may not reflect the participants’ true level of knowledge or confidence in carrying out diabetes self-care, given the difficulties experienced in administering the questionnaires in this study population. This study highlights some of the difficulties in collecting data in groups whose written/spoken language is not English, and questions some of the strategies currently used in research and in clinical practice to collect information.