Collecting 97 Gay Men’s Life Stories
By its very nature, a qualitative sample can never represent the population it purports to study. Qualitative samples can be ‘quite large’, as was the overall sample I used for this book, or they can be ‘relatively small’, as are a number of the city samples I used. Typically, qualitative samples can ‘represent’ or provide a sense of the possible range of views, experiences, processes found in the wider population but cannot represent their numerical distribution. For example, in Auckland, I interviewed 12 men who were drawn from a variety of classes and ethnic backgrounds, including two retired men who had had working-class jobs in the transport sector and three Maori. In New York, I interviewed 11 gay men, whose ages were from 33 to 72 and included five African- and Caribbean-American men and two men who were HIV positive. In Mumbai, I interviewed seven men, four of whom were in their 20s and five of whom were in relationships.
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