The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - 34

Michelle L. Boettcher * Kurt Earnest * Angel Eason * Leslie Lewis

the participants in focus group interviews. In
this way, readers can make their own judgments about fit or similarity for their own circumstances (Firestone, 1993; Lincoln & Guba,
1985; Shenton, 2004). To address dependability and confirmability, we described our
research design and data collection methods
in detail and kept an audit trail, saving and organizing all documents related to our research
(Shenton, 2004). Research team members
also engaged in dialogue to address issues of
researcher bias throughout data collection and
analysis (Maxwell, 2013). Finally, the inclusion
of a research team member who had worked
neither in residence life nor at the research site
served as another strategy for addressing bias
by examining data from an outside perspective
(Morgan, 1996). She critiqued, challenged,
and clarified themes.

Institutional Context
The research site was a large Midwestern
land-grant institution. The student population was about 40% female and 60% male
(the university identified students using the
binary female/male). While there was no
live-on requirement for students, nearly 95%
of first-year students and about a third of all
students lived in university-operated housing.
The racial makeup of the undergraduate
student body was 74% White and 14% domestic Students of Color. About 7% were international students, and 5% chose not to share
their racial identity.

Focus Groups
The study involved six hour-long focus groups
(facilitated by practitioners on the research
team) with three to five participants each, for

34

Participants talked about custodians
sharing their experiences, showing
care, and working to maintain the
environment, and they appreciated
when custodians shared information
about their lives outside of work.

a total of 19 undergraduate Students of Color
(five African American men, six African American women, two Asian American men, three
Asian American women, one Latinx man, and
two Latinx women). Participants had lived on
campus for one to five semesters, and three of
them were community advisors. We recruited
participants via email available to residence
life staff who worked as part of the research
team, and as a result we invited all students
who self-identified as Students of Color on
residence life forms to participate. Participants
lived in a variety of communities: traditional
halls, suites, and apartments, as well as both
coed and single-gender communities. The goal
of this study was to deeply understand shared
experiences that are difficult to observe and are
related to a group with shared characteristics;
thus, focus groups were appropriate for collecting data (Krueger & Casey, 2000).

Protocol
Our protocol allowed us to collect information
in a short period of time while remaining flexible (Creswell, 2014). This flexibility allowed
participants to direct the dialogue and generate information beyond our script, providing
space for new and unexpected themes, nar-

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 45, No. 2 - Intro
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