Immigration and Women: Understanding the American Experience

By Susan C. Pearce; Elizabeth J. Clifford et al. | Go to book overview

Appendix A
Notes on Research Methods

This was a mixed-method study, which means that we used both quantitative and qualitative methods, with the primary emphasis on the latter. The quantitative data were all from secondary sources: they were from available datasets such as the U.S. Census Bureau (provided through IPUMS from the University of Minnesota) and tables from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). With the census data, we controlled for women who migrated as adults and produced simple tables (cross-tabulations) of the variables in question. The USCIS data were disaggregated by age, so our data summaries consisted of simple addition.

Regarding our qualitative research, we used both snowball and convenience sampling to recruit participants. Often, our recruiting was carried out through organizations such as professional associations and advocacy organizations. Personal contacts through colleagues, friends, students, family members, and other activists were also important sources of referrals. Several women volunteered to be interviewed when they learned of the project (people we met in our travels, such as at hotels or restaurants). Primarily, the goal was to locate women who were employed in the targeted arenas that the book covers (such as domestic workers, artists, and activists). Secondarily, without claiming to be fully representative of all nationalities, we attempted to stratify the sample when possible, seeking out women from ethnic groups that had particular concentrations in the locales where we traveled. For example, we made sure to interview Mexicans and an Iranian in Los Angeles, a Vietnamese in Houston, and Haitians and Cubans in Miami. Given the high number of Mexican women in the United States, we made sure that many in our sample were of Mexican descent; Mexican-born women constitute more than 10 percent of those interviewed. Although we indicate the country of birth in our list of those interviewed in appendix B, it is important to note that some do come from mixed ethnic/national backgrounds.

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