How-to

Interview

Anti-Vaxxers

The Ask
 
Research a maligned subculture that gets looked down upon or stereotyped in mass culture.  

Team

Hunter Mott - strategist

Chandler Saunders - strategist 

Brian Siepka - strategist 

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My Role
Became the anti-vax curious group member
 
Invaded anti-vax groups online
Interviewed anti-vaxxers in the height of COVID-19
We look at most beliefs with a dichotomous lens yet no phenomenon is white or black.  One must be vulnerable, civil, and curious to see the gray. 
The Research
qualitative and quantitative research studies 
Historical analysis of the movement
Social listening & online observations
Immersion of anti-vax content
(Vaxxed, The Vaccine-Friendly Plan &, etc.)
 
One on one interviews
Becoming an active member of the Crunchy Parents of Virginia FB group
Diving into the Virginia Freedom Keepers, a lobby group 
The Insights
Anti-vaxxers aren't aligned with one political party, which causes strife between members.
 Whether it be related to medical reasons, religion, or freedom, these individuals are emotionally fueled and logically propelled.
Anti-vaxxers feel they've been oppressed. This type of victimization forces traumatic bond formation and implicitly creates a larger barrier between them mass culture. Causing polarization to worsen and discussions to cease. 

Disclaimer

Instead of explaining the entire research presentation, I've decided to share the story of how we got there. 

Went down basic research avenues ✅.

Learned some foundational/historical context ✅

Left our own thought bubbles and read something we didn't already agree with ❌ 

Initial Investigation 

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We underestimated the difficulty of understanding A stigmatized subculture.

We didn't recognize our inherent biases until all we had was confirmed stereotypes and basic information. Whoops.

We decided that to move past traditional information we were going to have to embed ourselves into the culture.   

Joined FB, Reddit, Discord groups ✅

Began social listening and online observations ✅

Posting to see if anyone would talk to us or fill out our surveys ❌

either no one was interested or our post was not approved by admin

Online Communities

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All the groups we joined were both Anti & Pro vaccine. Over the past few years, social platforms have deleted anti-vax groups and made anti-vax rhetoric difficult to find.

 

We were able to learn the lingo and find points of tension but couldn't facilitate any sort of conversation.

Our last option, find anti-vaxxer amongst our family and friends. luckily, I had a cousin-in-law who I never spoke to except on the occasional holiday.    

Cultivated an relationship before jumping in ✅

Designed interview questions to learn about their all aspect of life✅

The entire group was able to be on the call ❌

 

For all interviews, Anti-Vaxxers were not interested in talking to someone they didn't know or couldn't be vouched for by another anti-vaxxer

Interviews

begin

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Each interviewee had a select group of friends who shared their beliefs but none of them were willing to introduce us to their close-knit communities. 

 

we were missing something. A true understanding of a group dynamic amongst anti-vaxxers

I decided to keep my cousin-in-law in the loop as we interviewed others. She finally asked if I wanted to join her Fb group, the Real Crunchy PArents of Virginia. 

Met with the Virginia Freedom Keeper members ✅

 

Discuss Anti-vax cultures in different states ✅

Interview an Anti-vax liberal ❌

Interview an Anti-vax male ❌

 

Those we interviewed who had partners, also were anti-vax. Social listening indicated men seemed to keep their opinions quieter. Multiple women even shared that their husbands don't open up about their anti-vaccine beliefs amongst friends or at work.

Anti-Vax Local

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Anti-vaxxer relies heavily on their local community. Laws are different from state to state and can be difficult to find doctors who understand their needs.  

 

Anti-Vaxxers are skeptics. They question things many individuals just accept. They are passionate about science, safety, and freedom

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If you'd like to see more of the research, hear the interviews, or learn more please reach out!