Daily Conversation Logs and Diaries in Rural Malawi: New Insights about Topics and Patterns of Social Interactions in Ethnographic Journals 1999-2005‎

Patrick Gerland, United Nations

This paper uses non-traditional data in to examine the characteristics of informal social networks that demographers have long known diffuse information about demographic behavior. Sophisticated statistical analyses of longitudinal survey data can demonstrate the impact of these networks influence attitudes and behavior, and information on the content of conversations in these networks can be collected by semi-structured interviews. What neither the survey nor the qualitative data typically permit, however, is situating informal conversations about AIDS in a wider context. We thus collected new data to address three questions: (1) Is AIDS a major topic in a high HIV-prevalence setting? (2) What is the range of topics that are informally but publicly discussed? (3) Does the topic of conversation change as the composition of the network changes? We use new methods designed to reduce participant selection bias: e.g., daily conversation logs, contact diaries and systematic time sampling.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 4