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What’s it like living in MPHS? Issues of feedback from qualitative research.

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Presentation on theme: "What’s it like living in MPHS? Issues of feedback from qualitative research."— Presentation transcript:

1 What’s it like living in MPHS? Issues of feedback from qualitative research

2 The community – Mclaren Park/ Henderson South

3 MPHS compared with neighbours and the Auckland region MPHS is a poor suburb. High rents increasing faster than wages. More and more rentals. Larger families, more overcrowded households, more solo parents and people on sickness and invalid's benefits. More young people and fewer older people. Greater responsibilities looking after children and those who are unwell or disabled. It's a hard-working community. Growth of people with qualifications, in study or working as in professionals, technicians, community and service workers or in cultural or arts related jobs is faster. As many wage-earners and volunteers as elsewhere. A community dominated by cars. Car ownership is growing rapidly. Without cars many are trapped in their homes.

4 The questions the RM students asked Descriptive: What was it like when you first came to MPHS? Or, if very recently, what were your first impressions of MPHS? Descriptive with simple evaluations: What's changed since you first arrived? Major Evaluations: Overall what’s it like to live in MPHS? Solutions: What can be done to fix some of the problems of living in MPHS? Demographics: Age, Gender, Occupation, Works in MPHS?, Culture/s, Religion, Living with?

5 Narrative interviews (Q1) Prompts: when was that, impressions before you came, neighbours, street atmosphere, making friends, children (their making friends, new school, where would they play?), pets, parks, shops, transport, work, sport, church, marae, community events, community organisations, the MPHS community development centre, clubs, MPHS community newsletters, businesses, connections with other cultural communities (European, Pākehā, Māori, Pacific Island, Asian, African), crime (theft, violence, bullying), police, was it a safe place? (for kids, women, during the day, at night, on the weekend, during school holidays, anywhere you wouldn't go?). Allow the narrative to move beyond first experiences by asking "what happened next?" when something interesting turns up, e.g. if there was a row with a neighbour what are relationships like now? or if they had a nice time at a community event what was the outcome (new friends, access to information and resources, etc)?

6 Convenience sample (34 interviews) – did not match the community Age: more 31-50 yr olds; less young and old Culture: more Māori; equal Pacific Is.; less Pākehā, Asian, other Gender: more women; less men Religion: more no religion; equal other religions; less Christian Employment: more employed; less unemployed Occupation: more community workers; equal professionals; less other (managers, clerical, sales, machine operators, labourers) Households: more people in the household; but same distribution of children

7 Data quandary Students did great narrative interviews. They got many rich and exceptional stories. The interviews did not always cover the same ground (e.g. about church, gangs, pets) and thus themes are not necessarily representative of the sample. The sample is not representative of the community. Is it ethical to summarise the data as if it is and to report this back to the community? How do you report back to a depressed community?

8 Another Waitakere example Innovate Change’s research on what parents of pre-schoolers need – MSD SKIP review 39 parents and 11 professionals interviewed, one “whānau” meeting with 30 parents and 12 children – not representative The report: for each theme we get 1) great pictures; 2) one or two pieces of verbatim; and 3) A researcher’s summary of the theme Funding will follow the report’s recommendations





13 Feedback that engages and transforms Is it research or is it marketing? Using an action research paradigm – feeding back the voices, not necessarily creating the solutions Use of performance, film, visual media, internet, facebook, etc Leverage from other work - Violence Free Waitakere’s Bully Banishing Campaign, Phoenix Performing Arts group, Unitec Communications and Film and Performing Arts Departments

14 Feedback that engages and transforms Mix and mingle - meet other people, looking at posters and photos presenting information about MPHS from the 2013 Census; some of the stories of the participants, and the key issues and solutions for a more resilient community A presentation pulling things together A performance from the Rootz group that dramatises some of the collective stories and the solutions suggested. Kai and chance to talk and read a summary document. Small group discussions - what are some of the next steps we could take to make MPHS a safer, more fun place to live. Large group feedback seeing what commitments we can make individually and collectively for the future.

15 Dialogues Instead of summarising a theme take the verbatim from all the participants and make it into a dialogue between 2-4 people. Try and capture all positions taken by participants and connect them without diminishing their polarity Play this story back to the participants or other groups and explore how they resolve the issues Present an authentic experience rather than a highly summarised one through the researcher’s lens

16 Gangs’ Dialogue About half the participants talked about gangs Some of the verbatim was covered by more than one participant This dialogue has verbatim from twelve participants and some connecting sentences The dialogues tend to start with hard edges and move to more reflective spaces in much the same way as a conversation between friends might.

17 The feedback from the dialogue Culture, belonging, family Gangs are part of our culture and they have their own culture. Part of gang culture is that it’s cool to be bad and that “chicks like the bad boys”. This has links to bullying, domination, heavy drinking and drugs, vandalism, dangerous car culture, and protection of territory. The culture also includes a sense of belonging, of being part of a family, of having an identity, a place to stand and being tough, proud and resilient. It’s a place of safety for some people, where there are people who have “got your back”. It’s a place where you are welcomed and everyone has much the same story.

18 The feedback from the dialogue Stereotyping and fear Gangs don’t have to be bad. They are just a group of human beings, who are stereotyped. Stereotyping encourages gang culture. Changing negative attitudes means we can see them on the streets and not be afraid of them. Many of us (particularly Asian) have never had any knowledge or experience of “gang” life growing up and going to school here in MPHS. We have always felt safe. For some gang members are their friends and never a source of problems

19 The feedback from the dialogue Solutions Clearly we need to offer places of belonging and more options for young kids to get involved in. We need to avoid stereotyping, stop being afraid, and awhi gang members rather than isolating them. This means using a strengths approach, noticing skills and reframing the skill sets (e.g. of tagging), stopping the isolation and bullying, bringing in well-being, aroha and restorative processes. Globalisation and technology means that we are training kids to be followers and not think for themselves. They lack the “bigger” picture and they need leadership and leadership skills

20 Did it work? Not enough MPHS residents came The readings of dialogues needed more practice The discussions after the dialogues were rich and animated The recorded feedback both strengthened the ideas in the dialogue, while adding new ideas and solutions


22 Where to next? Meeting with the Samoan Methodist Church tonight to run the gangs dialogue Other dialogues, like the neighbours one, could be used anywhere? Using dialogue as graffiti

23 Dialogue as graffiti

24 John: At the beginning the people may look rough you know, at first glance when you’re new to this community, but the more you get to know them you kinda fall in love with the people here you know Rebel: What our street looks like right now it looks safe. I think they need to make the alley ways more open coz there’s like massive hedges, so I think the need to make them lower, but not too low coz that will make it easier for people to rob those houses. But in saying that, if you’re running from someone or someone’s behind you, a low hedge would be good so u can jump over to get to safety faster

25 Jane: The people, the people are really, really neat. There’s a real, I feel there’s a real community bond here, you know a really, a massive community identity too, you know people are proud to be living here in the community. I quite like it I guess. Is there anywhere in the area that you wouldn’t go during the day? Abby: during the day probably not, if I had my husband I’d go anywhere. What about by yourself? Abby: I just don’t like walking by myself at all


27 Safe and not so safe


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