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of Chaguite Grande, the contact arranged a meeting which the author took advantage of

to conduct a focus group discussion/interview.

The format for the semi-structured interviews varied, depending on the position

and work experience of the informant, as well as the amount of information the author

already had obtained on the cooperative in question. The author attempted to direct the

interviews in order to fill in information from the interview guide for each group. The

interviews were kept as informal as possible, and responses from the informant often

determined the direction of the interview. Note taking by the interviewer was minimal,

relying instead on tape recording so that each interview could be reviewed later. Before

each interview, the interviewer first introduced himself and explained the reason for the

interview. It was made clear that the informant did not have to answer all questions. The

interviewer also explained the use of the tape recorder and made it clear that the recorder

could be turned off at any time. For the groups where semi-structured interviews were

utilized, eight to twelve interviews were conducted for each cooperative. In addition,

data was obtained from direct observation and unstructured interviews.

The use of key informants (Bernard, 2002) by the author was very important

when informants gave inconsistent or confusing information. Talking to the key

informants usually clarified the situation. Another technique used for clarification was

asking other informants about the unclear information to see if they could verify or refute

the information in question. The process of clarifying suspect information was especially

important for the cooperatives in Quebrada Honda and Chaguite Grande because these

were the groups the author was least familiar with.

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