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  1. Abstract

    U.S. border colonias are peri-urban settlements along the U.S.–Mexico border. Residents often face substandard housing, inadequate septic and sewer systems, and unsafe or inadequate household water. As of 2015, an estimated 30% of over 5 million U.S. colonia residents lacked access to clean drinking water, suggesting health complications. This scoping review identifies a very limited existing set of research on water and sanitation insecurity in U.S.–Mexico border colonias, and suggests value in additional focused research in this specific context to address health challenges. Preliminary health data indicates that due to water insecurity, colonia residents are more likely to contract gastrointestinal diseases, be exposed to carcinogenic compounds from contaminated water, and experience psychosocial distress. These widespread health issues in colonias are exacerbated by historical and ongoing socioenvironmental injustices in the U.S.–Mexico border region and their relation to the poor health outcomes.

  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 2, 2024
  3. We review ethnographic methods that allow researchers to assess distress in a culturally sensitive manner. We begin with an overview of standardized biomedical and psychological approaches to assessing distress cross-culturally. We then focus on literature describing the development of reliable and valid culturally sensitive assessment tools that can serve as complements or alternatives to biomedical categories and diagnostic frameworks. The methods we describe are useful in identifying forms of suffering—expressed in culturally salient idioms of distress—that might be misidentified by biomedical classifications. We highlight the utility of a cognitive anthropological theoretical approach for developing measures that attend to local cultural categories of knowledge and experience. Attending to cultural insider perspectives is necessary because expressions of distress, thresholds of tolerance for distress, expectations about stress inherent in life, conceptions of the good life, symptom expression, and modes of help-seeking vary across cultures.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 4, 2023
  4. Leveraging ground-breaking work of Black feminist scholars alongside established techniques of focus group and community-based participatory research, we explain sister-girl talk as a novel method for collecting and analyzing group interview data with Black women. We outline the procedures for consultation, facilitation and preliminary analysis of the sister-girl talk method.
  5. We outline a process for using large coder teams (10 + coders) to code large-scale qualitative data sets. The process reflects experience recruiting and managing large teams of novice and trainee coders for 18 projects in the last decade, each engaging a coding team of 12 (minimum) to 54 (maximum) coders. We identify four unique challenges to large coder teams that are not presently discussed in the methodological literature: (1) recruiting and training coders, (2) providing coder compensation and incentives, (3) maintaining data quality and ensuring coding reliability at scale, and (4) building team cohesion and morale. For each challenge, we provide associated guidance. We conclude with a discussion of advantages and disadvantages of large coder teams for qualitative research and provide notes of caution for anyone considering hiring and/or managing large coder teams for research (whether in academia, government and non-profit sectors, or industry).