Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 50, No. 2 - 81

Undocumented Student Mattering
Data Collection
I conducted one round of remote 75-minute audio interviews. Semi-structured interview
questions explored each person's journey as an undocumented college student,
how campus living opportunities contributed to a sense of marginality versus mattering,
and ways to better serve undocumented students, all of which are concepts drawn
from the literature review (e.g., Davidson & Preciado, 2017; Raza et al., 2019; Shelton,
2019). Conversation points centered concepts from the marginality and mattering
framework regarding sense of safety, belonging, connection, inclusion, engagement,
and value as members of the community (Schlossberg, 1989).
Data Analysis
The second author joined the study for data analysis using a basic qualitative design that
" involves identifying recurring patterns or themes supported by the data from which
they were derived " (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016, p. 25). The first cycle coding method was
driven by In Vivo coding to mirror participant language as closely as possible in naming
codes and categories, which prioritizes and honors participants' voices (Saldaña, 2016).
The second cycle involved focused coding to search for the most frequent or significant
codes to develop the most salient categories (Saldaña, 2016). Analytic memoing, which
aligns with these methods and reflects research rigor, revealed the thinking process
behind our data analysis and also serves as a code and category-generating method
(Saldaña, 2016). We also followed Merriam and Tisdell's (2016) suggestion that findings
are derived from and supported by raw data, and we utilized direct quotations from
participants and engaged in peer review to check the alignment of findings and data.
The use of strategies such as investigator triangulation by use of multiple researchers
(Patton, 2015) enhanced trustworthiness and rigor through member checks, peer debriefing,
and reflective journaling (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016).
Reflexivity and Positionality
Throughout the study, we were attentive to issues of reflexivity and positionality by
engaging in meaningful reflection about our salient identities, including thought work
during memoing and peer debriefing (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). The first author is a
White, U.S.-born citizen who has retained permanent citizenship status throughout
her life. The first author also dedicated time to meaning making around positionality
as a higher education scholar and former housing professional who is likely viewed by
participants as someone in a position of authority. Power dynamics likely resulted from
these various identities and experiences, which could alter how participants disclosed
their stories. The second author identifies as a White, U.S.-born citizen who shares
privileged outsider experiences and identities with the first author. As such, we held
conversations regarding ethical research engagement, including disrupting the notion
of false objectivity (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). We also thanked participants for their
time with an e-gift card.
78 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

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

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