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Making Sense of Complex Relations: Using Explanatory Mixed Methods to Understand Latinx Immigrants’ Acculturation in Disparate Socio-Ecological Contexts

By: & Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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While research has shown that cultural navigation, or "acculturation" depends on context, most of the literature remains acontextual. Consequently, we used community-based explanatory mixed methods to understand acculturation in context, examining how and why some Latinx Immigrants’ desire to acculturate differently than they actually acculturate. To study the phenomenon of acculturation, we administered bilingual surveys and conducted focus groups with unauthorized and authorized Latinx immigrants living in Arizona, New Mexico, Maryland, and Virginia. We analyzed the quantitative data using analysis of variance (ANOVA) and path analysis, and we analyzed the qualitative data using grounded theory, informed by the constructs under study. Our results suggested that Latinx immigrants desire to and do acculturate differently according to their contexts. In this way, both personal and contextual factors explained how Latinx immigrants acculturated better than their mere desire to acculturate. In sum, our research provides insight into reasons for the diverse array of Latinx immigrant acculturation in the United States in light of their disparate contexts, preferences, and experiences. This case study explores how our qualitative and quantitative data complemented one another to provide a richer and more comprehensive understanding of acculturation across these individuals and their contexts. Students will gain an understanding of the utility of using mixed methods with groups underrepresented in research, the practicalities of conducting community-based research, gaining entry into these communities, and producing actionable findings for key stakeholders.

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