Methodological Approach

This study is based on qualitative research that was conducted in Guatemala (primarily the Lake Atitlan region). The data presented in this chapter are drawn from a larger study. Formal research was conducted in 2013 and is supplemented by observations carried out during a follow-up trip in 2015. The research followed a case study design, which involves the use of multiple data sources to provide in-depth data collection of a ‘bounded system’ (Creswell, 1998, p. 61). Case studies are particularly appropriate in contributing to our knowledge of contemporary issues and explore individual, group, organizational, social and political phenomena (Yin, 2009). Research methods included a variety of approaches that yielded both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative methods were embedded within the qualitative methods, with qualitative methods being dominant (Creswell, 2011). Data collection included ethnographic observations, free-listing exercises, document analysis, and formal and informal interviews. A total of 30 (15 women; 15 men) in-depth semi-structured interviews were completed with Maya-speaking adults involved in the tourism industry. The interviews ranged between 15 min to 1 h in length. Sixty adults (28 women; 26 men; six preferred not to disclose) participated in the free-listing exercises. A variety of topics were explored, including benefits and drawbacks of tourism development, issues of poverty and inequality, and changing gender roles.

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