Update: Qualitative Research with Asexual Individuals

I have completed the qualitative research portion of my dissertation project – between Jan. 2011 and May 2012, I conducted 30 in-depth semi-structured interviews with individuals who identify as asexual. I decided to take this opportunity to post a little bit of information about my methods and about the demographics of my sample.

Methods: I posted multiple requests for interviewees on the AVEN website. My request for interviewees was also circulated to two local AVEN-related listservs.  The study was open to people 18 years of age or older who live in the United States and identify as asexual or as a member of an asexual community. Interviews were conducted between January of 2011 and May of 2012 using an interview protocol.  All interviewees gave informed consent before the interview. Interviewees also filled out a short demographic questionnaire before the interview. Interviews lasted between 30 minutes and 2.5 hours. On average, the interviews lasted slightly more than 1 hour (median: 1 hr). Interviewees were given a $25 incentive for participating in the research. 25 of the interviews were conducted in-person in the following areas: Atlanta (6); New York (3); Boston (5); Los Angeles (4); San Francisco (1); and Washington, DC (6). The other five interviews were conducted over the phone. The project was approved by the Emory Institutional Review Board (IRB) and by the AVEN Project Team.  Funding for the research was provided by the Emory Graduate School, a dissertation grant from the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association (SEWSA) and a student research grant from the Kinsey Institute.

Demographics: For complete demographic information about the interviewees from the short questionnaire, please download the following table. 70% of interviewees identified as female, 23% as male. 1 interviewee identified as transgender and 1 as “other.” Interviewees ranged in age from 19-50. The average age of participants was 29. An overwhelming number of participants were single, only four were in current relationships. Five were divorced or separated from a previous long-term partner. None of the respondents had children. An overwhelming number of participants were White, only two identified as non-White in some way. 61% of respondents reported no current religious affiliation. 36% of respondents reported no political affiliation, 29% identified as Democrats, and 18% identified as Independents. Respondents were well-educated, 66% had attained a Bachelor’s degree or higher, most of the remaining respondents were still in school. 16 (55%) of the respondents were (primarily) employed full-time, 7 (24%) were (primarily) full-time students, 2 (7%) were (primarily) part-time students, and 4 (14%) were (primarily) unemployed/looking for work.  12 (43%) of the interviewees reported individual income of less than $20,000 per year (of these seven were full or part-time students). 5 interviewees also reported household income of less than $20,000 per year. 10 interviewees lived in households with annual incomes below $45,000. 12 lived in households with annual incomes between $45,000 and $100,000. 6 lived in households with annual incomes above $100,000.

I look forward to posting additional information as I work on writing up the results of my qualitative research.

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