Why didn’t you study….?

One of the most common questions I am asked in terms of my research is “Why didn’t you study [insert group]?”  It can be hard to understand why I would pick a certain group to study and not others.  First, when you are doing any scientific research project, you have to narrow your focus.  In this case I narrowed my field to one type of immigrant.  To include other types of immigrants would have taken too long to pursue.  It’s better to focus your study and get better results for one group than it is to do too many groups at once.  Not saying you can’t, but I wanted to graduate in some reasonable time frame and I did not have grant funding to pay for my time.

Second, in terms of time, this study took a large amount.  It took me seven months to complete the interviews from start to finish.  Adding in other groups would have taken even more time.  The reason for this is having an appropriate sample to perform statistics.  If you focus on one group, the sample group can be smaller.  For many groups, the sample has to be larger.

Lastly, I chose Iraqi immigrants to study because they were the largest group.  I wanted to make sure I could get participants.  Some of the other groups were much smaller and harder to access.  The harder it is to get participants, the longer the study will take.

After saying all of this I am not closing myself off to performing this study with other populations.  Now that I have completed my dissertation research, I am open to working with other groups.  My hope is the next time someone asks me this question, I can say I have worked with that group and here’s what I found out.

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