Bringing Representation Home: State Legislators among Their Constituencies

By Michael A. Smith | Go to book overview

Appendix

I. Data Collection

I spent two years observing and interviewing twelve state representatives. This study presents and analyzes the resulting qualitative data. Whenever possible, I conducted the interviews in the home districts, sometimes in connection with other home-district activities. However, this was not always feasible. In all, six interviews were conducted in state capitol offices, one on the house floor during the third reading of a bill, one in the representative's car as he ran campaign errands, one in a former campaign headquarters in the district, one in the representative's home, and two in public places in the home district (both of which immediately followed meetings with constituents).

In addition to tape-recording and transcribing my interview with each legislator, I traveled with them in their home districts: attending forums, meeting constituents on the street, watching consensus and conflict unfold, and struggling with local problems. Like Fenno, I often found myself talking to legislators “on the run”—usually riding with them as they drove from meeting to meeting. 1. Many were eager to talk as we drove, pointing out important points of local controversy as we passed them. I attended too many events to list, but they included numerous chamber of commerce meetings and school district legislative forums, community center receptions, classes in local schools, and interest-group-sponsored events. I visited with newspaper publishers, lobbyists, social workers, lawyers, candidates for office (a few of whom were elected during my study), teachers, school

____________________
1.
Fenno, Home Style, 281.

-203-

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