’s Culture Essay, Research Paper
Dorothy Ayers Counts and David R. Counts’ “They’re Family Now: The Creation of Community Among RVers” argued that retired people have a better life when living in recreational vehicle than those in other forms, because of a greater sense of community and fewer emotional problems. Moreover, they also argued that it is easier to create social bonds among RVers than other settings in North America.
Counts and Counts researched on the RVers’ life by dressing themselves as Rvers, and stayed in private and public RV parks for two-and-one-half months. They interviewed altogether fifty of the RVers throughout North America. The use of questionnaires was abandoned after two weeks because of the RVers preferred them to ask questions through conversations. The authors found out that retired RVers are from heterogeneous groups with different backgrounds. They have many different alternative RV lifestyles; such as staying in private resort areas, living in public parks – boondocking, full-time RVing and part-time RVing. Those in private parks have limited personal space, but they are able to stress the comfort and convenience of full-hookups and safety security system. Likewise, those in public parks, boondockers, preferred their spacious docking area, unlimited external space and the freedom from restricted rules. Further, full-time RVers considers the vehicle as their home while the part-time RVers have another base, a cottage or an apartment, in other city or town.
The authors described RVers’ community as reciprocity; reciprocity is the way they coop with crisis, and it is essential to survive in RV lives. RVers are very friendly to their neighbors even though some are new comers to their groups. In order to build up their communities, they exchange their personal history, share food, values, norms and culture. The feeling of isolation, apathy, loneliness and the absence of a future found in settled retirement communities are not among the RVers. They have many different activities everyday or night; some go for sight-seeing trips, shopping or selling in the flea-markets, gleaning harvested fields, collecting pop and beer cans to sell and a lot more other things like volunteer works. RVers builds friendships very quickly and easily because they love to help each other, and putting trust in each other. Therefore, they always return to their site regularly to meet old and new friends, and they feel like they are family in the parks.
On the other hand, the authors also described that there was limited space environments in a mobile home, and it can cause a lot of problems when shared with the inappropriate person. The limited space can also limit the personal belongings; things have to put away and space has to be utilized efficiently to plan for the future. As a result, a careful plan for the future is needed before joining into the RVers groups.
Counts and Counts used a fieldwork research to construct this article, indeed they should try using other better methods to do research, otherwise their analysis could not consider as trustable and accruable. The authors took a very close look at the living style of RVers, they tried to be a part of them and investigated their culture and inner thoughts. This can gain trust from the RVers and also strengthen their research results. However, the authors should have interviewed more RVers, only used fifty interviews was not sufficient enough to analysis for the study. In general, the range of sample size used for national wide research study should be within one thousand to two thousand respondents. The more interviews, the more accurate the result.
Moreover, they should travel to more different locations throughout North America in order to gather more different information from various groups of RVers. Furthermore, as the research is held between October to December, which is within the winter season, the authors could not make accurate analysis based only on this period. Different time of the year might greatly affect the results of the study, especially in the summer season, a whole lot more RVers would be on the road. Therefore, the author should extend the time or construct another research in different seasons.
Counts and Counts turned the abandoned questionnaires into questioning the RVers through conversations because the RVers refused to cooperate. Although face-to-face interviews might require a longer time and relatively more expensive, the authors interviews the RVers at home – vehicles can establish a higher degree of rapport with the respondents, and a relatively more complex and lengthy questionnaire can be administered with greater ease. Moreover, the respondents are more cooperative, prompting and probing can be done more effectively. Moreover, in order to be more effective and efficient in terms of saving cost and time, authors should do a pre-test interviews with a smaller number of the RVers before doing the formal interviews process. Pre-test interview is a preparation steps for the research process which the results can help to improve the questionnaire in different areas; such as wordings, flow of the questions, skip patterns, screening questions, formats, and overall length. Also, it eliminates the non-qualifying respondents and to include all qualified respondents.
In addition, at the part of describing the sense of community, the authors did make a good understanding of the Rvers’ culture by explaining and defining the meaning of community well. Because the authors had effectively used some of the secondary research – old or second-hand data that were part of a project executed at some time in the past for some reason, to support their ideas. However, there was a conflict when the authors mentioned that all the RVers have a sense of community, and are not isolated in anyway, because among all the Rvers, they are isolated in some way from other group. For example, the boondockers and the private park dockers are totally two different RV groups, and they do not get along with each other. Therefore, a different RVers group does have different cultures and sense of community among others.