Rarely Asked Questions

Question:  Are you just “chatting people up” about expositions in the United States or are you collecting data?

Answer:  Talking to people about their experiences morphed into loosely structured qualitative interviewing, which is used to evaluate a program or policy, in this case World Fairs.

Question:  How do you choose who to interview?

Answer:  I use a combination of convenience sampling and snowball sampling.  Once I find someone who has attended a fair they often know others who attended whom I subsequently interview.

Question:  So you just talk to them?

Answer:  Yes.  Then I write up what I think they said and give it back to them and we review, correct, and enhance their ideas together.

Question:  How is your information about European Expositions different from your research about North American World Fairs?

Answer:  The language barrier restricted who I could interview in Europe about their experiences and prevented me from conducting researching by reading oral interviews or first hand accounts.  So, my European research is truly about what structurally remains at various sites.  Background research was completed mostly on the Internet because I could use the “translate this page” function.

Question: How is your African research different from Europe or North America?

Answer:  The African fairs were unique in that they were created by the colonizing government.  The fair in Johannesburg was called the Empire Exposition and was more like attending a fair in Britain.  People of all races attended the African fairs, especially in Cape Town, but their experiences weren't recorded-at least not on the Internet-so information comes from the perspective of the white people involved.