The More You Learn the Less You Know? Interpretive Ambiguity across Three Modes of Qualitative Data Collection

Nicole Angotti, University of Colorado at Boulder
Amy Kaler, University of Alberta

This paper demonstrates how our methods of inquiry affect what we learn about local responses to “HIV testing”-- a key global AIDS intervention-- in a high prevalence rural African setting. It explores differential responses to three HIV testing themes (knowing one’s status, counseling messages (ABCs) and antiretroviral treatment) across three distinct modes of qualitative inquiry (interviews, focus groups and a set of ethnographic journals that capture everyday conversations about HIV/AIDS). We find the most favorable responses to testing themes in the interviews, mixed responses to testing themes in the focus groups, and the most negative responses to testing themes in the ethnographic journals. Careful consideration to situational specifics in our research methods is critical for those evaluating responses to interventions designed for individual and community benefit.

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Presented in Session 121: Methodological Innovations in AIDS-Related Research