A Tale of Two Settings: Rethinking Methods and Approaches for Diversity Research

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In order to better understand the range of experiences of diverse college students, scholars engaging in diversity research must be mindful of our methodological assumptions. Existing research on environment and space suggests that the concept of a “setting” is not neutral or static. In this article, I emphasize the need to consider campus spaces as dynamic and fluid. I also suggest that depictions and reports of studies’ settings should capture diverse perspectives because different populations can view a single setting very differently. A singular version of a research setting may be inadequate. I offer an example of how one setting can be viewed in very different ways and reported in a way that captures the difference. The disconnects between institutional perceptions of campus space and students’ perceptions of a setting may offer greater insight into how diversity is experienced and understood by different constituents.


This article was originally published in Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, volume 39, in 2017.

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Humboldt State University