Gender roles in online dating

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The purpose of interviewing, perspec unstructured interviewing, semi structured interviewing, and structured interviewing. Informal interviewing generally lacks structure. Unstructured interviews are open ended and e ntail researchers asking questions and allowing conversations to ensue.

Informal and unstructured interviewing are beneficial for exploratory studies. For this intervi ew, a semi structured interview guide was used from which the interviews were guided. However, I was more interested in the story of Internet dating ed active interviewing. Holstein and Gurbrium d escribe active interviewing as a conversation between the researcher questions to be asked, the active interview guide is advisory, more of a conversational agenda than was guided by my research agenda, but remain ed set of pr edetermined questions that might be used as appropriate to engage the PAGE 51 51 well with constructivist grounded theory, the methodology discussed below.

As a grounded theorist, an interviewer must ask participants to describe and reflect upon particular experiences. The interviewer, from this methodology, must listen, observe, and encourage responses to a few broad, open ended questions. In grounded theory, as in active interview ing, the interviewer is more concerned with eliciting a narrative from the participant than sticking to a structured interview guide. This active interview was guided by four main questions see Box 1.

The first question asked the participant how they ge t started doing Internet dating how do they construct their profile and contact others. The second question asked the participants The third question was open ende resulted in two or more in were aimed to provide respondents with an opportunity to add anything else pertinent to their Internet dating expe rience that has not already been covered. After these questio ns, each subject w as given a brief written questionnaire asking their age, ethnicity, occupation, level of education, religion, length of participation in Internet dating, and 5 words that summarize how they wish to be portrayed in their Interne t dating pr ofile.

Participants we re asked about these demographics in order to take into consideration variations by race, ethnicity, class, age, and religion. As I mentioned above, race, class, and gender are all components PAGE 52 52 were analyzed w hen coding interviews. Furthermore, since principles of homogamy and filter theory were analyzed, I want ed to have this demographic information accessible.


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The maj or focus of the interview wa s on how participants do their gender while doing Internet datin g For instance, do relationship initiation strategies differ for women when beginning an Internet mediated relationship versus a traditional relationship? How do the beginning stages of Internet mediated relationships differ from other more traditional re lationships? Do women feel they are less committed to stereotypical gendered behavior onli ne?

All of these questions shed light onto how and when initiation of intimate relationships occurs. For purposes of this research, initiation will be defined as a w ho sends the first message online to begin communication, b who initiates the first in person meeting, and c who asks for the second in person meeting. The i nterviews occur ed at a location and time that wa s convenient for the interviewee. In the beginni ng of the interview, the participants were asked for permission to tape the interview.

If taping was permitted, I only took notes during the key points of the interview. These taped interviews w ere transcribed. If taping wa s not permitted, the participants were asked if they would felt comfortable with me taking notes during the interview. These notes were expanded later the same day.

Furthermore, I wrote memos about these interviews and my experiences conducting these interviews the same day the interview was conducted. Memo writing allows the researcher to engage in the data and remain as reflexive as possible. In the memos, it was important for me to note how my own race, class, gender, age, and ideologies may have affected the interview and my relationship with the interviewee. Because I was using constru ctivist grounde d theory discussed below , it was critical to engage in memo writing.

In constructivist grounded theory, the theory that arises in the data depends In keeping track of reflexivity, the understanding of both the phenomenon under study and the research process itself will be enhanced. Furthermore, memo writing kept track of reoccurring themes categories and incomplete categories in the data, which will be discussed in greater depth below. Keeping track of reoccurring themes and incomplete categories aided in theoretical sampling, which was discussed above.

As the categories bec a me saturated with data no new properties emerge , theoretical sampling cease d Coding and Analysis The transcribed interviews were coded for themes that aro se.

The coding focus ed on how participants do gender and Internet dating. Many of the scholars noted in the literature review explained race, class, and gender cannot be separated when anal yzing social issues.

As such, race and class w ere considered within the context of the interview data. Grounded theory Charmaz, was used to analyze interview data. Glaser and Strauss argued that theories should be developed from data, instead of deducing testable hypotheses from existin g data. Analysis of data occurs through a constant comparison of interview codes.

The coding of interviews reveals categories or common themes in the data. The connections of these categories are documented in memos throughout the research process, formin g a emerge. Grounded theory has taken on different forms since its creation: Objectivist grounded the ory resides in knowable world.

The data already exists in the world; the researcher finds them and ded theory, analysis as created from shared experiences and relationships with participants and cerned with the how and why of participants constructing meaning and actions in specific situations.

For this reason, constructivist grounded theory approach was used in this study.

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Doing gender, as explained above, is reinforced through social interaction s. This study is interested in how people do gender. Charmaz explained that grounded theorists must continually evaluate the fit between their initial research question and their emerging data.

As grounded PAGE 55 55 theorists, we should not force theory or p reconceived ideas onto our data, but rather follow leads we find in the data through coding.

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Gender Roles in Online Dating

As part of this, we should not necessarily adopt of reproduce their views as our own but instead, interpret them separately from our knowledge. Because I entered i nto this study having conducted a literature review on Internet dating, I was sure not to impose my preconceived ideas and knowledge onto the interviewees or data, but instead pai d close attention to theories emerging from the data. Coding is the first step in grounded theory data analysis and aids in synthesizing many interviews and documents to develop a grounded theory.

Charmaz categorizes, sum the analytic frame from which a researcher builds the analysis and aims to address the two main phases of grounded theory coding: Initial coding occur red first.

Gender roles still dominate the world of online dating, research shows | Metro News

Charmaz advised researchers to ask the following questions during initial coding: Initial coding sticks clos e to the data and codes for words reflecting action. In initial coding, the researcher must work quickly through the data, remain open to exploring theoretical possibilities, keep codes simple and precise, develop short cuts, preserve actions, and compare data with data PAGE 56 56 Charmaz. Furthermore, Glaser advised coding with gerunds to help detect processes within the data.

Line by line coding wa s part of the initial coding process. Line by line coding helps the researcher see actions and identify signif icant processes within the interview data. Charmaz advised researchers to ask the following questions to aid in this process: How can I define it? What might his or her observed behavior indicate? The line by line coding should provide leads to follow.

Internet Dating and Doing Gender an Analysis of Womens Experiences Dating Online

Word by word by line and word by word coding will help separate data into categories and see processes w ithin the data. The coding also include d in vivo codes; codes that condense meanings of widely used terms that participants assume everyone shares. In vivo codes are important because they are characteristic of the social world in which one live s.

Once I felt that there was strong analytical progress made with the initial coding, a more focused coding occur red The most significant and frequent codes were pulled from the line by line coding. Focused coding helped determine which initial codes should be categorized by comp aring data to data. After thos e codes were finished, theoretical codes were applied to the focused coding. The theoretical codes specified possible relationships between the categories establish ed during focused coding.

Online dating has altered what women are looking for in men and the ways they initi ate relationships. Many of the women interviewed acknowledge that Internet dating is different than more traditional forms of dating in that they feel more liberated to seek the perfect match and initiate contact with men. The data supporting this claim re volves around several important findings: First, Internet dating has allowed for women to pick out very specific characteristics in men that they report being important to them in relationships.


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Women report these specific characteristics may not matter so much if they had met the man in a face to face setting. Second, the initiation process of Internet mediated relationship is scripted by rules and expectations unlike those used in traditional dating practices. Women report these rules make the beginning s tages of dating more predictable and accessible. Third, many of the women interviewed reported Internet dating is a more convenient way to meet men given their work and school schedules.

It seems that this change is the result of larger social issues such as women spending more time at school and on their careers than before. Picking out Specific Characteristics Internet dating has made it easier for women to pick out specific characteristics in men they report being important in potential partners. As such, the data from these interviews indicated that women are very active during the initiation phases of the Int ernet mediated relationship.

The women interviewed reported working very hard and spending a good deal of time screening the men on the dating sites and picking out very PAGE 58 58 specific characteristic, such as height, eye color, education, and employment status. As was discussed in the literature review section, a study performed by Clark, Shaver, and Abrahams found that women used passive and indirect strategies more often than men in the beginning stages of a relationship.

The data from the interviews sho ws that women are actually very direct in their desires and are very active in pursuing their needs.

Gender Roles and Dating

The virtual atmosphere of Internet dating seems to liberate women to search and sort through men based on very specific characteristics. Many of the women interviewed reported that they were expecting to find the to narrow down the exact types of characteristics one is looking for in a partner, many of the women reported expecting nothing less than perfection.

There are people who are looking for the perfect someone. Because you can go online, and find someone who looks like they're the perfect match on paper, and then maybe they're not beginning. These people are on a search for t he perfect person. Further, the large pool of men on these dating sites makes it necessary to search for specific characteristics to make the pool more accessible.