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Ethnographic Interviews on the Digital Divide
Unformatted Document Text:  Ethnographic Interviews 6 eight had incomes between 25,000 and $35,000, and five had incomes above $35,000 (with three of these reporting annual incomes above $70,000). According to census data, the current median household income in the U.S. is $42,200 (DeNavas-Walt & Cleveland, 2002). Our sample is therefore weighted toward lower income families, a reflection of our desire to learn how families with lesser means experience the digital divide. Fourteen families in the sample were headed by a single parent and six by two parents. Fifteen of the families had a parent who had completed an Associate’s degree or less formal education, five had a parent who had completed a Bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree, and one had completed some coursework toward a Master’s degree. Twelve of these families identified themselves as Anglo-American or Caucasian, and eight identified with multi-racial/ethnic heritages (including Hispanic, Anglo/Mexican American, Hispanic/White, Hispanic/Native American/White, Latino/Caucasian/Indian/Filipino, French/African American/Dutch Black, and Anglo/African American [2]). Interviewees were located through referrals from various “gatekeepers” and were recruited using what Lindlof (1995) has termed “maximum variation sampling,” in which each family was expected to add a contrasting element to the overall sample. While all of the family members in our sample had access to computers, their experiences with both computers and the online environment differed widely. Five families had had a personal computer in their home for more than ten years, six families had purchased a computer in the past year, another five had computers that were “hand-

Authors: Clark, Lynn., Demont-Heinrich, Christof. and Webber, Scott.
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Ethnographic Interviews 6
eight had incomes between 25,000 and $35,000, and five had incomes above $35,000
(with three of these reporting annual incomes above $70,000). According to census data,
the current median household income in the U.S. is $42,200 (DeNavas-Walt &
Cleveland, 2002). Our sample is therefore weighted toward lower income families, a
reflection of our desire to learn how families with lesser means experience the digital
divide.
Fourteen families in the sample were headed by a single parent and six by two
parents. Fifteen of the families had a parent who had completed an Associate’s degree or
less formal education, five had a parent who had completed a Bachelor’s (undergraduate)
degree, and one had completed some coursework toward a Master’s degree. Twelve of
these families identified themselves as Anglo-American or Caucasian, and eight
identified with multi-racial/ethnic heritages (including Hispanic, Anglo/Mexican
American, Hispanic/White, Hispanic/Native American/White,
Latino/Caucasian/Indian/Filipino, French/African American/Dutch Black, and
Anglo/African American [2]). Interviewees were located through referrals from various
“gatekeepers” and were recruited using what Lindlof (1995) has termed “maximum
variation sampling,” in which each family was expected to add a contrasting element to
the overall sample.
While all of the family members in our sample had access to computers, their
experiences with both computers and the online environment differed widely. Five
families had had a personal computer in their home for more than ten years, six families
had purchased a computer in the past year, another five had computers that were “hand-


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