Statement of purpose The purpose of this presentation is to describe the variety of qualitative approaches used to explore experiences of bias-based bullying (BBB) - bullying based on personal characteristics (e.g., race, gender identity, body weight). We present the challenges and strategies of combining dyadic interviews with 13 youth (ages 11–18) and their parents, 4 youth focus groups, and 7 school-team interviews.
Methods/Approach This presentation will provide an overview of the study design, recruitment strategies, compare and contrast qualitative approaches, and outline a successful framework for future BBB qualitative studies.
Results Challenges included 1) lack of familiarity with the term bias-based bullying, 2) schools were reluctant to discuss bias-based bullying incidents, and 3) recruitment of dyadic interviews generated unbalanced data from parents and youth depending on who was targeted for recruitment. Strategies used to overcome these challenges included iterative adaptations of the interview guide to include specific types of bias-based violence (e.g., racism). Reassurance of confidentiality and providing hypothetical examples of BBB informed by youth focus groups facilitated sensitive discussions with school personnel. Adding in-person recruitment at youth-focused events accessed adolescents with a wide range of BBB experiences.
Conclusion Reducing BBB is critical to improving the health and wellbeing for all youth. Qualitative methods can foster new insights and yield rich data to enhance the understanding of BBB as well as other challenging life experiences among marginalized youth.
Significance With the lessons learned from this study, these methods can be used to investigate other unique experiences in marginalized populations. This research showcases how a combination of rigorous qualitative methods can foster a greater understanding of student, school, and parent perspectives on bias-based bullying, which is essential to the development of more effective prevention and intervention programs to protect vulnerable youth from bullying.
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