Combining Community and Structure to Collect Binational Migrant Network Data through a Mixed Methods Approach

Sergio Chavez, Rice University
Heather B. Edelblute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ted Mouw, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ashton M. Verdery, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In this paper, we describe the process for collecting binational social network data that connects an origin community in Guanajuato, Mexico to destination communities in the Research Triangle of North Carolina and Houston, Texas. We begin by discussing the three-stage data collection process that relied on a mix of random and snowball sampling beginning in North Carolina, then extending to Mexico, then extending to Houston, Texas. After outlining the data collection approach, we illustrate strategies community surveyors used to locate respondents of a hard-to-reach population, aid in addressing missing or incomplete data, and successfully asking sensitive questions that could be perceived as being culturally intrusive for a vulnerable population. We also describe how we used ethnographic methods to inform our study design and findings. We conclude by discussing the unique mix of structure and community context in NSIT and future directions for this work.

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Presented in Session 53: Innovations in Studying Hard-to-Reach Populations