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Department of Anthropology: Asian (In)Fertilities

Methods

This research used both quantitative and qualitative methods during a 12 month period of fieldwork in Leeds and Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK (and a brief period of fieldwork in Pakistan).

Recruitment

Women self-identifying as Pakistani, aged approximately 40-60 years living in the Leeds/Bradford area of West Yorkshire, were recruited with the help of local community contacts, interpreters, and health development workers and via snowballing. Women were also recruited from women-only community centres in Leeds and Bradford which are attended by women of Pakistani origin.

Quantitative Data Collection

Questionnaire-based interviews

The questionnaire-based interview was semi-structured and included questions about a number of topics including:

  • family history
  • education
  • reproductive history (pregnancies, births, breastfeeding)
  • last menstrual period
  • menopausal 'symptom' experience
  • current health
  • culture change
  • physical activity
  • anxiety and depression

Anthropometrics

Anthropometric data was collected from women who took part in the questionnaire-based interviews. The data collected were:

  • height
  • weight
  • body fat percentage (via bioimpedance - BodyStat1500)
  • waist circumference

Qualitative Data Collection

Life history interviews

These interviews aimed to elicit narratives of women's lives starting from early life. Most of these interviews were carried out in the homes of the participants. Women were encouraged to express themselves in their own terms and to determine the pace of the interview. Some of these interviews were carried out over more than one session.

Participant observation

Ongoing data collection during the whole of the fieldwork period was done via participant observation. A systematic record of day-to-day interactions, observations, and informal conversations was made by recording field notes on a daily basis throughout the fieldwork period.

Questionnaire-based interviews

Some women opened up a great deal during the questionnaire-based interviews and began telling many stories from their lives, making it rich, in depth and, in effect, more of a life history interview. These notes constitute qualitative data from the questionnaire-based interviews.