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Using qualitative and quantitative methods to develop ethnic identity questions in the UK Alita Nandi and Lucinda Platt with thanks to Liz Spencer, Punita.

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Presentation on theme: "Using qualitative and quantitative methods to develop ethnic identity questions in the UK Alita Nandi and Lucinda Platt with thanks to Liz Spencer, Punita."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using qualitative and quantitative methods to develop ethnic identity questions in the UK Alita Nandi and Lucinda Platt with thanks to Liz Spencer, Punita Chowbey, Heidi Mirza, Heather Laurie, Noah Uhrig, Emily Kean, Sarah Budd and Alison Patterson and our respondents

2 Ethnic groups? Ethnic group is a group of people who believe that they share a common descent based on real or imagined shared attributes (Weber, Schermerhorn, Anderson,..) Defining one ethnic group requires defining the other ethnic group Both commonality within groups and contrast with other groups are key to group recognition SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge

3 Ethnic identity? Ethnic identity: Ethnic identity is conceived of as being part of social identity (Phinney 1992) social identity will be understood as that part of an individuals self- concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership of a social group (or groups) together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership (Tajfel 1981) Components of state of ethnic identity (Phinney 1990): –Self-identification as a group member –Ethnicity (parental ethnic background) –Sense of belonging to the group –Attitude towards own group (and towards the other group) –Participation in own group activities SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge

4 Ethnicity in censuses and surveys Focus is on measuring affiliation to ethnic categories/groups Count demographic groups for monitoring discrimination and inequalities in opportunities (requirement for evaluation of Equality Act 2010, UK Race Relations Act, US Civil Rights Monitoring and Enforcement) Ethnic categories/groups Are expected to be mutually exclusive, consistent and relatively stable Do not require strong sense of identification – sufficient to self- categorise Development of ethnic categories/groups in censuses: has been subject to extensive testing, development and both pre- and post-evaluation as well as ongoing refinement.

5 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge But these measures were inadequate as measures of ethnic identity These measures just require people to self- categorise even if the categories/groups are of no significance (fictive unities, Werbner 1990) At best these measures do not provide information about the components of identity other than affiliation Measurement issues relating to the self- categorisation census type questions and questions to measure ethnic identity are different

6 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Measurement Issues for ethnic identity Do people find it easy to attach ethnic group labels to themselves as a way of expressing their ethnic identity [even if allowed to choose multiple groups]? Do people agree on what constitutes an ethnic group or their ethnic identity? Do all researchers agree on what constitutes an ethnic group? How best to ask a question on identity in general and ethnic identity in particular?

7 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge What did we do? Used a multi-pronged approach Literature review Qualitative: Focus groups to understand some conceptual questions about ethnic identity Qualitative: Testing of suite of questions emerging from this process Qualitative/Quantitative: Testing wording of a question using a self-completion on a convenience sample – Identity Quiz

8 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge What did we do? Used a multi-pronged approach Quantitative: Testing some prototype Identity questions in the Innovation Panel Qualitative: Cognitive Testing of final set of questions Qualitative: (Used results from the cognitive testing in Understanding Society wave 1 to ascertain how people respond to multiple response questions)

9 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Focus groups: What we did London Young men and women Middle to lower social class Different non-white ethnic groups London Young men and women Middle to higher social class White and Ethnic minority groups LondonOlder menMiddle to lower Different non-white ethnic groups Colchester Young men and women Mixed educational levelsWhite Colchester Older men and women Middle to lower social class White Sheffield Older and middle aged Women Middle to lower social class Pakistani SheffieldOlder and middle aged Women Middle to lower social class Black African and Black Caribbean

10 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Focus groups: What we found (1) For minorities, centrality of ethnic identity Ethnicity for me is as important as my name because it is my identity. Its a part- on a larger scale it is my identity. For majority (and to a certain extent for white minorities), ethnicity was a property of others (typically immigrants) I dont think much about my ethnic group…. Its the obvious thing for me, Im white, I cannot change it and probably it influenced who I am at the moment, shaped me somehow, but I just dont know. Difficulty and annoyance in being categorised/pigeon-holed/forced to tick boxes, but pride in ethnicity

11 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Focus groups: What we found (2) Centrality of skin colour to others – and to self perception So the Black comes with the British for me. Strong attachment to regional locations I wouldnt see it in terms of nationality, wouldnt be like Im British or Irish, I wouldnt be proud of that. It wouldnt kind of occur to me. Id much rather describe myself, for example, as a Londoner Importance of values and value systems to ethnic identity Importance of patterns of association to ethnic identity Importance of food / diet to identification (spontaneous)

12 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Conclusions up until now… It is important to To provide flexibility for researchers in constructing ethnic groups To allow respondents to identify with multiple aspects of ethnic identity rather than imposing a choice To capture various components of ethnicity / ethnic identity that go beyond allocation to a particular group - belonging, identification, attitude, behaviour & practice

13 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Quantitative Testing: of prototype identification questions in the Innovation Panel (Based on the Citizenship survey) Do these questions work for majority population? (extent of item non-response) Are distributions of responses by socio- demographic characteristics as expected? Do responses vary systematically by the interview mode?

14 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Quantitative Testing: Innovation Panel suite of identity questions Wed like to know how important various things are to your sense of who you are. Please think about each thing I mention, and tell me whether you think it is important, not very important or not at all important to your sense of who you are? READ OUT EACH AND CODE (1) Important (2) Not very important (3) Not at all important (a) Your occupation? INTERVIEWER: IF DK PROBE: Is that because you are retired? (ethnic or racial background, religion, national identity, political beliefs, family, fathers ethnic group, mothers ethnic group (if different from fathers), marital or partnership status, gender, age and life stage, level of education, sexual orientation)

15 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Do these questions work for majority population? % of Dont Knows are less than 1% for all except for: occupation/profession (2%) gender (1.4%) sexual orientation (1.1%) BUT for those over 60 years of age: DK for occupation is 4.6%

16 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Are distributions of responses by socio-demographic characteristics as expected? YES Ethnic or Racial background is important for – 74% for non-white/mixed groups – 53% for white Occupation is important for – 49% for 60+ – 80% for others Marital or Partnership Status is important for – 27% of those who are single – 41% of separated/divorced/widowed – 88% of those who are currently married or in a partnership

17 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Do responses (for IMPORTANT ) vary systematically by the interview mode? Ethnic or racial background (F2F 56.3% > Tel 51.2%) Political beliefs (F2F 33.4% < Tel 42.6 %) Gender (F2F 79% > Tel 73.8%) Education (F2F 69.3% < Tel 79.8%) Sexual Orientation (F2F 66.9% > Tel 62.1%) Occupation/Profession (F2F 3% > Tel 1%)

18 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge 13 Semi-structured interviews Explore similar issues around ethnicity, but in more depth Test wordings of questions about ethnic identity measured Across different dimensions such as religion, language, country of birth... Across different components such as belonging, pride,...

19 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Suggested ethnic identity questions: A set of questions to capture affiliation to a group based on language, religion, country of birth, … And then based on these groups, questions on Personal identification (Importance to your sense of who you are….) with this group Shared values and beliefs with members of these groups (Do you share values and beliefs...) Pride in these groups (Do you feel proud...) Interaction with members of these groups (How often do you interact...) Group belonging (Happy to meet someone who...)

20 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge How to measure affiliation to a group, groupness? So, initially we… Carried out an identity quiz (short self-completion questionnaire) where we examined this. We compared responses to sense of belonging, connection, and closeness to different potential domains of ethnic identity On a non-random (work-based) sample of 46 colleagues

21 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Identity Quiz 1) Do you feel a sense of belonging to 2) Do you feel a connection to 3) Do you feel a sense of closeness to YesNoYesNoYesNo Athose who speak English (or a dialect of English)? Bthose who speak the same language you were brought up in? Cthose who are of the same religion as you are? Dthose who live in the same city/region that you do? Ethe country where you were born? Fthe region in the country where you were brought up? Gthe country where your father was born?

22 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge The Identity Quiz: What we found Generally a gradation between stronger (closeness) and weaker (connection) but quite a lot of variation Many respondents wanted to be able to answer yes Giving irrelevant response categories provoked some frustration Desire for graduated rather than yes/no responses

23 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge So, then for the interviews: We could avoid group affiliation question as we had information about objective group affiliation such as country of birth, religion,... from wave 1 (except question on mother tongue) Dimensions: language, English, British, current city/region, country of birth, region brought up in, parents/grandparents country of birth if different from own, land of your ancestors, skin color or other visible characteristics, Black Components: identification, belonging/connection, pride, shared values, interaction

24 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Interviews: What we concluded (1) Expression of importance to sense of self appeared to work for personal identification And so did happy to meet someone who… for belonging Black rarely used in its one-time political sense – predominantly understood as reflecting African or Caribbean heritage. Colour important – even if self-evident and no indication that discomfort in answering, though could be confusion for those who were not African or Caribbean or South Asian

25 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Interviews: What we concluded (2) Interaction should be measured directly – not appropriate to measure through subjective appraisal. [DISCARD] Values and beliefs – an empirical question, not attitudinal, whether common across groups [DISCARD] Pride produced varied responses – suggests it can differentiate – for some obvious for others difficult or too sweeping

26 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Cognitive testing later: What we did 22 cognitive interviews with respondents varying in ethnicity, age and generation Tested a limited set of responses for potentially longer question sets. Questions covered: language (the missing dimension) Identification: importance to sense of self Closeness/belonging: happy when you meet someone who… Pride Food and dress habits

27 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Cognitive testing later: What we did Probes covered Ease/difficulty of answering questions what phrases/terms meant (important to my sense of I am Vs important to me, typical food, meet someone) Preferences for different response options Degree of comfort with some specific questions

28 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Cognitive testing later: What we found Respondents didnt have many difficulties with the questions, and didnt seem to find them uncomfortable Appeared to understand the questions and be able to interpret them as relating to self – even if hard to explain them back sometimes Food questions worked better than clothing questions Tended to prefer range of responses rather than simple yes/no

29 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Combining the quantitative and qualitative findings Quantitative findings Showed the potential of identity questions to be asked regardless of mode Showed that these questions worked well, given the responses varied by socio- demographic characteristics in expected ways

30 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Combining the quantitative and qualitative findings Qualitative results reinforced or enhanced the quantitative results confirming the acceptability and comprehensibility of identity questions indicating the ability of respondents to distinguish between important to sense of who I am and importance to me – even if difficult to express the difference – reinforced the validity of the questions

31 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Combining the quantitative and qualitative findings Qualitative findings were reassuring about the low sensitivity of such questions (particularly among minorities) indicated that questions on other dimensions of identity – belonging, pride and food – worked well confirmed the complexity of the task undertaken but did not appear to render it impossible!

32 Thank you!

33 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Lessons learnt from the Literature Review Ethnic identity formation is a process – change is expected and is of interest in its own right Attachment to various dimensions of ethnicity, including practices may define what an ethnic group means, rather than a single category Constructions of groupness, may vary with the analytical questions considered and with the focus on particular dimensions of ethnicity

34 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Lessons learnt from the Literature Review Avoid census categories: learnt responses Vs identification Multiple response question that allow for people to choose multiple ethnic identity domains are preferred Avoid a priori assumptions that place people into pre- existing groups: frustations of persons of mixed parentage and recent immigrants Be careful of particular words that have certain connotations, e.g., describe, best Avoid an open-ended question

35 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Quantative Testing: Prototype questions to be tested Suite of identity type questions from the Citizenship Survey SHOWCARD Wed like to know how important various things are to your sense of who you are. Please think about each thing I mention, and tell me how important it is to your sense of who you are? Please choose your answer from the card. Your occupation? (1) Very important (2) Quite important (3) Not very important (4) Not at all important DONT KNOW (occupation, ethnic or racial background, religion, national identity, where you live, your interests, family, social class (working, middle), The country your family came from originally, gender, age and life stage, level of income, level of education)

36 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Quantitative Testing: Innovation Panel Household Panel survey of approximately 1500 households Stratified, clustered sample (with an epsem design): 2730 addresses selected from 120 areas in UK (excl. N. Ireland and N of Caledonian Canal) 1489 Households & 2384 individuals interviewed in wave 1 (1660 individuals in wave 2) Wave 1 in 2008, Wave 2 in 2009 (we use data from wave 2)

37 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge Ideal for inclusion in 2 nd wave of Understanding Society Understanding Society is a multi-topic Household Panel Survey of up to 40, 000 households (respondents: all 16+ household members) with an ethnic minority boost of 4,000 households. Ideal because: Large ethnic minority sample (EM in boost+ in main sample): Facilitate research on ethnic identity, heterogeneity across different groups Longitudinal study: Later waves can draw on (stable) information collected in earlier waves (such as country of birth, religion, language)

38 SLLS Inaugural Conference 2010, Cambridge (Earlier Cognitive testing) Tested a multiple response categorical question on ethnic group Found Respondents like the opportunity for multiple responses to reflect different aspects of themselves – though they didnt like the choice of categories Acceptability of multiple-response / multi-dimensional approach


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