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Survey/Case Study Research Method

In a topic study, a combination of the survey research method and the case study research method is used to collect data. It is important when using topic to clearly define these two research methods. This is a survey because you will be posing questions to two (2) Respondents for the project. It is a case study because you will be focusing on just these two Respondents attempting to analyze and understand their experiences in depth. Try to move beyond general, superficial answers.

Presenting Findings (Summarize your Respondents’ answers according to the goals listed below):

The identities of your Respondents are completely anonymous. Do not use their real names. You can use their initials or the designation, Respondent One and Respondent Two. Select Respondents who have different life experiences. This should improve the quality of your paper. For example, if your first Respondent is younger than 40, then it’s a good idea if your second Respondent is over the age of 40. Your Respondents might be members of dominant groups in some ways, but in other ways be members of subordinate/minority groups. Again, it is suggested that you choose individuals who have different life experiences.

Interview Goals:
In each of your interviews your goals will be to: First, learn how the Respondent views herself/himself in terms of the six systems of inequality. In other words, you will need to ask each of your Respondents what they consider to be their sexual orientation, their gender, etc. Second, how does each Respondent believe society (i.e., on the macro level) treats each of these groups? We’re interested in each Respondent’s perception . . . not what you think. Third, how has each Respondent experienced advantages and/or disadvantages in the areas of these systems of inequality (on the micro level dealing with individuals and groups as well as on the macro level in society as a whole—government; education; criminal justice system etc.)? Make sure you ask about specific examples and how your Respondents felt about these experiences. Fourth, what changes, if any, would your Respondents make to society regarding these systems of inequality? For example, maybe someone could not attend college because they could not afford it. That person might make college more affordable.

How to do the Interviews:
You must have the permission of your Respondents in order to conduct each interview. It would be unethical to secretly ask a person questions about their life without that person being made aware that their personal information will be described in a project you are doing for class.

As you prepare to interview your Respondents, you might choose to write specific questions (i.e., a questionnaire) or you could do this more informally by focusing on the goals you need to achieve, but using a more relaxed style of interview (i.e., no formal questionnaire). Whichever style you choose, make sure you take plenty of notes so that you can fully analyze each interview.

You are the Researcher and as such, you should not lead your Respondents or attempt to manipulate them to say what you think is true. However, if you do not understand a response or you would like more information, ask your Respondents to clarify or expand on a comment.

There are different ways of conducting interviews, such as face-to-face or by telephone. It is ideal to conduct your interviews face-to-face. However, if you are not able to do this, then you can complete the interview by telephone or e-mail.