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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

THE DM: Students Canvass Community on Housing Issues


Cities and towns in Lafayette County, Mississippi

Cities and towns in Lafayette County, Mississippi | Wikipedia image

Ten students from an honors class will collect information from residents to help address housing insecurity in Lafayette County this week.

Students spent the first half of the semester learning fundamentals and designing their survey. By the end of the class, the students’ goal is to provide a deeper pool of information on affordable housing for low and moderate income households and families in the area.

“My hope is that if students read about this survey beforehand, they’ll be more receptive to answering the door and participating when we come knocking,” said JT Thomas, assistant professor of sociology, who is teaching the class.

Thomas said his team of researchers will be going door-to-door among a select number of households in Lafayette County for the next two months.

“The research team is interested in learning more about a range of housing experiences within the L-O-U community,” Thomas said. “Researchers will be moving in groups of two, and are hoping residents will be receptive to answering questions about their household and neighborhood characteristics.”

Students will canvass the community between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, since those are the hours of the day Thomas said residents are most likely to be home.

Thomas said students will also be canvassing on the weekends, but will have flexibility and about what times of day to survey.

Thomas said students will administer surveys in person, rather than have participants fill them out online. The surveys are designed to take around 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

“This will ensure that residents with poor or no internet access can participate,” Thomas said. “It will also ensure that if a respondent has a problem understanding a question, the research team can clarify it for them.”