Let’s Tell You a Story: Use of Vignettes in Focus Group Discussions on HIV/AIDS Among Migrant and Mobile Men in Goa, India

  • Ajay Bailey
Part of the Social Indicators Research Series book series (SINS, volume 34)


This chapter presents my experiences in carrying out this research in India. Talking to men in India on sexuality in in-depth interviews is easier than in focus group discussions; this we realised when we started the research on HIV/AIDS risk assessment. Thus, we introduced vignettes in the focus group discussion; they were derived from in-depth interviews which were real experiences of migrant and mobile men. The vignettes were localised by including names such as Lingappa – a name common for rural migrant men from north-Karnataka and by situating Lingappa in a migrant area in Goa. This projective technique yielded lively discussions about Lingappa. We found that men were more vocal when they had to talk about this fictitious person. Men also shared with us other stories of people living with HIV/AIDS or about incidents relating to HIV/AIDS. Fieldwork was carried out in Goa, India, in 2004–2005. We present examples of the vignettes and some reactions to them. The use of the fictional people and the manner in which we culturally adapted the vignettes show that men could both identify with the character and find other anecdotes to make sense of the situation.

Use of vignette Focus group HIV/AIDS research Migrant and mobile men India Sexualiy Rapport Positionality of researcher Language issue Informed consent 


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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ajay Bailey
    • 1
  1. 1.Population Research Centre, Faculty of Spatial SciencesUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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