appendix. demographics and methods
Notes on Methods
I conducted four years of ethnographic research with women living, on and
off, in the daily- rent hotels that spanned a three- by-three-block radius in the
Mission District of San Francisco. I first began fieldwork in the daily- rent
hotels in June 2007, working a Tuesday night shift that conducted outreach in
four hotels, later switching to Monday evenings to work in five other hotels,
and then back to Tuesday nights again. I conducted participant observation
in a total of fifteen hotels, the majority of which were privately owned, daily-
rent hotels. Although this book reflects the experiences of women renting
rooms in daily- rent hotels in the Mission District, I had other concurrent
ethnographic research projects in the field at the time that allowed me to
conduct participant observation in additional private and publicly funded
hotels in the Tenderloin, Civic Center, and Sixth Street Corridor neighbor-
hoods of San Francisco.
When I began to focus on the daily- rent hotels, I decided to leave the
drop- in center (Women’s Space) as my main site of participant observation,
and I only attended the center in the company of women with whom I was
ethnographically engaged or for policy or procedural trainings relevant to
my topic. I did not discontinue my role with the outreach program, because
it gave me access to the daily- rent hotels. I sometimes approached women in
the hotels, sometimes on the street, and described my project to them. Those
willing to provide informed consent became a part of my core cohort. Overall,
both the larger and the core cohort of addicted, pregnant women mirrored
the demographics of women in the daily- rent hotels. The women who rented
daily- rent hotel rooms, at that time, were ethnically diverse, with about one-
third being African-American, one- third white, and one- third Latina. I have
encountered in these rooms very few Asian women or women who identified
themselves as Native American. Only a handful (five) of all the women (about
seventy- five) I encountered during participant observation in hotels were
Previous Page Next Page