Cultural competence is essential when interviewing Low Acculturated Latinos. This segment of the growing US Hispanic market is mostly foreign born, Spanish dominant and prefers to keep Latino values. In qualitative research we need to connect with them culturally. Here are 5 ways to build trust and candor.
1. Wear clothes similar to those of your participants to encourage mutual acceptance. The researcher’s appearance should say: “I am like you, we are at the same level, and we can have a meaningful conversation.”
2. Allow Latinos to talk about their family. Latinos define themselves as part of a family and appreciate an effort to get to know them. Asking about family in the Warm-up conveys, “I want to know you on a personal level. This is a friendly conversation.” This promotes access to emotional drivers.
3. Give Latinos time to process their experiences and ideas. Latinos communicate using stories. Do not expect Low Acculturated Latinos to get to the point right away. Pushing for a quick, direct answer implies that “they are not smart enough.” Successful researchers listen and let the Latinos know that their answers are helpful. That empowers participants to share their rich feelings.
4. Praise Latinos often to maximize productive conversation. Indirect and direct praise are very effective. Praise indirectly, by using the participant comments to ask questions and move to new topics. This shows the researcher is attentive and accepts their opinions. Praise directly, by saying that they are making it very clear how they think and feel. Latinos feel energized to know that they are helpful and love to hear it several times during the discussion.
5. Use projective techniques when evaluating ideas. Low Acculturated Latinos tend to be very agreeable when assessing ideas. A gain truer insight, use a projective technique such as: “What do you think people in your neighborhood, like you, would say about this idea?” They will reveal their real feelings, indirectly.