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Ethnographie Methods In The Development Of Census Procedures For Enumerating The Homeless

Matt T. Salo and Pamela C. Campanelli
Urban Anthropology and Studies of Cultural Systems and World Economic Development
Vol. 20, No. 2, Ethnographic Perspectives on Homelessness (SUMMER, 1991), pp. 127-140
Published by: The Institute, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40553207
Page Count: 14
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Ethnographie Methods In The Development Of Census Procedures For Enumerating The Homeless
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Abstract

Ethnographic methods were integrated with survey procedures in a 1989 Census Bureau pilot test of an experimental daytime count of homeless persons in Baltimore, MD. We demonstrated that ethnographic techniques do not have to be merely supplemental to survey research, but can play an integral part in shaping the entire procedure. Ethnographic data proved valuable for choosing sites, designing questionnaires and developing new interview approaches, and have since proven equally useful in interpreting the test results. We would recommend a much wider use of ethnographic insights in developing surveys, especially where their targets are populations, which by race, ethnicity, class or some other social or cultural dimension differ from the mainstream society.

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