Field Observation of Communication Hotspots in Los Angeles


This case study describes a field observation conducted as part of a larger, mixed-methods study that examined how individual, intrapersonal, and neighborhood-level factors affected Latina women’s cervical cancer outcomes in Los Angeles. For this field observation, we sought to understand the role that neighborhood communication hotspots (community locations that serve as places for everyday communication among residents) played in cervical cancer outcomes. For this field observation, we asked a sample of 1,632 Latina women to name a place in their neighborhood where people got together to chat as well as a place that they spent time with friends and family. We narrowed their responses down to 42 sites and observed them over a 3-month period. Most frequent among residents’ communication hotspots were parks, restaurants, schools, and libraries. We coded the sites for many things, like their appearance, accessibility, and the sociodemographics of the people at the site. In this case study, we describe the process of conducting our field observation from start to finish, and discuss the challenges we faced and how we addressed them.

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