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Selection of Respondents

For the study of immigrant families, the following criteria were used in the selection of respondents. All respondents:

In addition, each researcher applied some specific criteria in the selection of respondents for each of the immigrant groups. Some criteria were meant to minimize variation among respondents so members of the set would be more easily comparable. In some cases, respondents were selected so as to increase the diversity among members.

Sampling Criteria for Interviews in each Set

Interview SetTo Reduce VariationTo Increase Variation
Caribbean Selected families from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, not from anywhere in the Caribbean Selected various occupations, and different classes of immigrants (domestic scheme, independent, family class)
Tamil Selected only Sri Lankan Tamil families, not all Sri Lankans and not Indian Tamils Selected Hindu and Catholics, Tamils from all parts of Sri Lanka, and Tamils of all class and caste origins
Italian Selected mainly Italian families who immigrated in the 1940s and 1950s. Selected immigrants from different regions of Italy

Evolving Selection Strategies

The selection strategy can change as the study evolves. The interviewer comes to know more about the group of respondents, and more about his or her interests. New interviews can add a different perspective on research questions. For example, the Italian interviewer decided to interview one member of the second generation. She also interviewed one man who plays a prominent role in an Italian cultural association. Selection strategies are shaped as researchers come into contact with key informants. These can include family members, friends and "friends of friends," and community leaders.

Interviewer Characteristics and Selection Strategies

Italian Interviews

The interviewer is an Italian-born woman who is fluent in Italian. Her family immigrated when she was a young child. She chose to interview respondents of her grandmother's generation. Her grandmother became a "key informant," introducing her to several of her respondents. Another respondent, who she knew as a friend, was a young man who was born in Canada to Italian immigrant parents.

Tamil Interviews

The interviewer is a Canadian-born, white woman with Anglo-Protestant origins. Her connections to the Tamil community evolved through close friendships with Tamil members and travel to Sri Lanka. She first chose Tamil friends who were fellow university students as "key informants." Because she wanted to interview a diverse group of Tamils, however, not just those with children attending university, she did not select only her friends' family members. She asked friends to introduce her to a second set of "key informants," who were themselves familiar with different subsets of the community. These second "key informants" provided names of families they knew.

Caribbean Interviews

The interviewer is a Canadian-born, white, Jewish woman who was born and grew up in Montreal. She approached community leaders who introduced her to families. Many of her interviews came about through her contact with the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Association in Montreal.

Chinese Interviews

The interviewer is a Chinese-born man. His method of contacting respondents was to send an e-mail notice to a list serving Chinese students in Toronto.

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