April 13, 2010

The Importance of Persistence and Creativity for Locating Interviewees

My quest to find deportees in Goiás continues, with stops and starts. Lately, there have been more stops than starts, but I continue to be hopeful that things will work out …. even though I only have 43 (!!!) days left in Brazil.

On Monday, I was supposed to travel to Jaraguá to interview deportees, but my assistant and I agreed that it would be better to postpone that until this weekend, so that we can do interviews on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With three days of interviews, I hope to complete ten interviews in Jaraguá this coming weekend.

Jaraguá is another small town in the state of Goiás – about 35,000 people – that has a high number of emigrants, and thus deportees. I have yet to travel to Jaraguá, but a little Internet searching has turned up an interesting fact about Jaraguá. It is the largest garment exporter in Goiás. It is conceivable that the connections between garment exporters and US-based buyers are related to emigration to the United States. That is something I will have to explore while I am there this coming weekend. Hmmm…. looks like I might have to do some clothes-shopping as part of my research in Jaraguá.

Today, I was supposed to travel to Itapuranga to meet a friend of a friend who promised to introduce me to several deportees. However, just as I was on my way out the door, this friend called me to ask to postpone our meeting. A friend’s family member passed away and he had to travel out of town. He did say that we should be able to meet tomorrow to do the interviews in Itapuranga. If things work out, I could do four interviews in Itapuranga tomorrow.

So far, I have completed ten interviews, and need to do a minimum of thirty before I leave Brazil. Both my contact in Jaraguá and my contact in Itapuranga have assured me that finding ten interviewees will be no problem. I just have to be persistent and ensure that I follow up on their leads.

My ideal would be to do ten interviews in Itapuranga, ten in Jaraguá, and ten in Goiânia. That would be thirty more in addition to the ten interviews I have already completed. My project goal is to do thirty in each country. However, I feel safer doing more in each country, just in case. Of course, this means that I will have nearly 200 interviews to analyze once I get back to the US. But, I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

For now, I will focus on completing as many interviews as possible. Hopefully tomorrow I will travel to Itapuranga and complete several interviews. If not, I will have to find another way to make this project work.

It turns out that finding interviewees is often a matter of persistence and creativity. You have to be persistent by continuously following up with leads. And, you have to be creative by always thinking of new ways to find interviewees.

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