February 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
The accuracy of a randomly sampled poll is computed with the aforementioned formula. When I counter that calculation with language barriers, cultural sensitivity, and affectations of compliance, I get a margin of error as wide as the distrust between the nervous neighbors on the Korean peninsula. Week one of my interviews has supplied me with more material to add to my “scope and limitations” section than the analysis. Déjà vu. I remember this oddly familiar feeling from the end of my first week in this country. I’m not claiming to be an acculturated member of Moroccan society, but Darwin and I look back at September and realize I have adapted to my new environment. Since that first clumsy week eventually became months of relative assimilation, I’m confident that I can likewise learn from the peculiarities of these first few interviews to develop my methods and be a more effective interviewer. Novice climbers risk brain damage for that view from the top, so in scaling my mountain of fieldwork I need some time to acclimate before I drive myself crazy. And, in fact, the air where I’ve been going is quite thin. My search for unmarried girls often takes me into smoke-filled cafés. The responses I receive, which I pay dearly for in oxygen, are mixed.
My interview questions attempt to extract subtleties in women’s conceptions of marriage. In the majority of cases so far, marriage appears to be not only a predetermined, unquestioned, standard of life, but in some cases the very intention of life itself. However, fitting perfectly into my hypothesis, many of university and masters students I interview either reject marital aspiration or have their own plans to achieve it. It will be interesting to see what other patterns develop. My target is to interview girls from various education levels, as well as those who may never have gone to school at all. The latter will be a challenge. I’ve been practicing saying all my questions in derija, but my inability to comprehend responses without the help of an interpreter is yet another obstacle.