restricted access Appendix: Research Design, Methods, and Data Analysis
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195 Appendix Research Design, Methods, and Data Analysis This book is based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews as well as some ethnographic participant observation. I conducted participant observation at social service programs, the KWRU office, and KWRU rallies and protests, where I recruited participants, and in the neighborhoods associated with the organizations and in which the participants reside. But this is better understood as an interview study rather than an ethnography, one reason detailed biographies do not appear. The questions I explored revolve in part around identity, stigma, and self-worth, and are therefore sensitive, making them suited to qualitative methods. Such research depends on trust and rapport to get the most sincere answers possible, and in-depth conversations create this foundation . My research aimed to explore meanings and processes, another characteristic making qualitative work most appropriate. In selecting participants, designing my interview guide and analyzing the data, I considered factors such as race, age, history of welfare receipt , experience of homelessness, and number of children. I focused on women, since the majority of means-tested social programs are targeted to children of unmarried mothers, though I interviewed two men in KWRU who were key leaders of the group and who seemed to influence other members as well as the direction of the organization. I chose program sites in neighborhoods that vary in their degree of poverty concentration, allowing me to observe poor participants who live in high-poverty neighborhoods as well as those who reside in lowerpoverty neighborhoods, though I didn’t find any meaningful differences between them. Their individual economic situations played a larger role than did the poverty level of their residential neighborhoods. I conducted all my research in Philadelphia.1 Philadelphia can be divided into various regions or neighborhoods. At the time of data collec- 196 | Appendix tion,2 the Philadelphia City Planning Commission divided Philadelphia into twelve regions for planning purposes, and I conducted data collection in ten of the twelve regions.3 The Philadelphia Neighborhood Information System sorts Philadelphia into 69 neighborhoods; I conducted research in 26 neighborhoods.4 According to the 2000 U.S. Census (via the cartographic modeling laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania), the lowest poverty rate was in the northeast and northwest sections of the city; the west and lower north neighborhoods have the highest concentrations of poverty.5 Site and Sample Selection I began collecting data in November 2003 and did my final interview in March 2006. The map included in this appendix shows the location of the KWRU office and where KWRU participants resided. KWRU was located in the West Kensington area of the city and high poverty neighborhoods surrounded it. KWRU/PPEHRC members live all over the city and their sense of community comes from the organization, not the neighborhood. Some study participants, especially KWRU members, lived near the office in West Kensington, but others lived in West Philadelphia, the upper northeast, and elsewhere. Two KWRU participants lived in West and Southwest Philadelphia neighborhoods. In addition to talking to members of KWRU, I recruited twenty women from various social programs around the city. I recruited these twenty participants from eleven6 locations (eight different agencies), as described below: • A Head Start in Pennsport, a neighborhood in South Philadelphia, yielded one participant (a parent of a student there); • A Head Start in West Philadelphia yielded two participants (parents of students); • A parenting class at a multiservice agency in West Kensington yielded two participants; • An employment training/placement class at the same multiservice agency7 in West Kensington yielded two participants; Appendix | 197 • A GED preparation class managed by an agency in Fishtown and held in West Kensington8 yielded one participant; • A GED preparation class at an agency in West Kensington yielded one participant. • This same agency had another location a few blocks away that yielded two participants,9 both of whom are agency employees and former students/ clients; • An employment training and placement program in Germantown yielded two participants; • An employment training/GED preparation class in South Philadelphia yielded three participants; • A South Philadelphia satellite of a program designed to increase literacy and math skills, and aid clients attain GEDs if needed, yielded one participant ; and • Another satellite of this program, in Center City, yielded three participants. The racial breakdown of this recruitment is as follows: seven African Americans came from three different agencies. Seven whites came from three different agencies (four locations). Six Latinas came from three different agencies (four locations). Those I recruited often lived near these...


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