A Community of Acceptance Research Project
Sensitive topics such as diversity and race relations are difficult to explore. The use of race to negatively evaluate people - racism - can exist in many forms. Few people would openly admit, and may not even be aware of, ways in which they may have negative beliefs about people who are different than them. Rarely is racism and prejudice overt; they also exists in far more subtle attitudes. In addition, society's institutions may give an advantage to certain people over others. For example, those whose parents were highly educated are typically better able to do well in school because family supports are often in place. This enables good students to get better jobs and have other advantages. Thus society tends to reproduce itself. Systemic racism shows in such facts as lower employment or income rates for visible minority groups despite comparable education levels. The topic of diversity and racism is extremely complex and difficult to study.
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Method 1 - Community Survey
A survey was developed to access the information desired. A strategic sampling method was chosen as likely to generate the most effective response. Surveys were also distributed through selected multicultural and aboriginal organizations. Finally, surveys were available at locations in town, including the public libraries, and the Lakehead Social Planning Council in Victoriaville Mall.
1020 surveys were distributed. 392 surveys were returned. this is a 38% response rate, very good for community-based research of this type.
Method Two - Interviews & Focus Group
Surveys yield general information. Interviews have been selected as a means of getting deeper and richer in-depth information about the race relations in Thunder Bay. This data will add additional insight into the ways in which racialization occurs, and the social locations in which it happens. Interview subjects will be drawn from those who respond to the survey and are willing to be interviewed in greater depth. Interviews will also be conducted with other community members and organizational representatives. Focus groups may also be utilized. Ongoing thematic analysis will be conducted until a saturation of analytic categories is achieved.
Since the intent of the interviews is to understand the experience in depth, rather than a shallow but generalizable level of knowledge, members of the public who are willing to talk about their experiences of racism are encouraged to contact the research coordinator.