A Multi-methods Approach to Qualitative Inquiry to Explore the College Journeys of Mexican American Women

Rocha / Journal of Latinos and Education / February 2022

This qualitative study highlights how the use of several interpretative-methods helps to better capture the journey of the participants’ transition from low-income, immigrant households to first-generation college students of color at a top-tier research university. The author examines a wide range of interpretive practices, from traditional to innovative educational methods in the field of qualitative inquiry, when exploring the lived experiences of students who have been historically excluded in higher education. The author reflects on the benefits and limits when employing these methods. The author argues for the particular strength of employing multiple qualitative methods to study complex life situations such as college transitions. The pilot study’s preliminary findings suggest that four first-generation college-going students utilized their family as a resource to help their transition to college. Specifically, the use of participant-generated photographs helped capture meaningful aspects of their everyday life as a college student. Scholars who aim to understand lived experiences of Mexican American women or other excluded groups are encouraged to employ multiple-interpretive methods to gain more textured accounts of their college experiences.