Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2 - 80

Undocumented Student Mattering
METHODOLOGY
Our methodology reflected a qualitative design focused on understanding how people
make sense of their lived experiences and included using a purposeful sample,
conducting interviews, utilizing inductive data analysis, and presenting findings via
themes (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). A constructivist epistemology informed our approach
as we examined participant meaning making and sought to " capture diverse
understandings and multiple realities about people's definitions and experiences "
(Patton, 2015, p. 122). The first author conducted semi-structured qualitative interviews
with five undocumented college student participants, resulting in more than
66 single-spaced pages of data, and completed the initial data analysis and then partnered
with the second author to complete the study.
Participants
As the first author, I used purposeful sampling to recruit participants who held specific
characteristics related to the research question (Patton, 2015), inviting individuals who
identified as an undocumented college student and were enrolled for at least one semester
at a U.S. institution of higher education within the previous academic year. To
identify participants, I emailed gatekeepers such as university administrators who could
share the invitation with students, and I emailed students who publicly self-identified
as undocumented on institutional websites within undocumented student organizations.
I identified additional students recommended by initial participants, reflecting a
purposeful snowball sampling technique (Patton, 2015). The sample size of five participants
reflected the assertion that " there are no rules for sample size in qualitative inquiry "
and " in-depth information from a small number of people can be very valuable "
(Patton, 2015, p. 311). See Table 1 for participant demographics.
TABLE 1
Participant Self-Identified Profile Summaries
Name
Anticipated
graduation year
Eddy
Esmeralda
Little Johnny
Maytate
Samantha
2021
2022
2021
2021
2021
Major
Sociology
Kinesiology
Business Economics
Social Work
Higher Education (2019)
(masters); undergraduate
Sociology degree
Race and/or
ethnicity
Mexican
Mexican
Latinx
Latinx
Mexican
Region
West Coast
West Coast
Mid-South
Mid-South
West Coast
DACA
recipient
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
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