Research Report 6 - Electorally Engaging the Homeless: Appendix 1

Updated: 30 May 2013

Appendix 1: Methodology for Interviews: Voting and Homeless in the Australian Context: Qualitative Research Exploring Homeless People's Voting Attitudes and Behaviours.

A copy of the paper and the original interview transcripts can be provided upon request.

Permission to interview clients was sought from all agencies at the outset. Participants were then approached, briefed verbally as to the nature of the study, and informed that all information would be held in confidence, and that they could withdraw at any time. Informed consent was normally given verbally, and in some cases some service providers asked that participants sign a consent form. Many individuals approached declined to participate because financial remuneration was not provided; many agencies confirmed that it common practice to provide financial incentives.

Homeless person's agencies in and around the Melbourne metropolitan area were contacted to assist in identifying individuals willing to participate in interviews for the project. Participants experiencing all of the three types of homelessness were recruited from a total of nine different centres across Melbourne. The centres either provide crisis accommodation for specific groups of people (e.g. women escaping domestic violence) or services for people experiencing homelessness (e.g. meals, counselling).

Interviews were conducted between July and August 2004 at a total of nine locations.

The goal was to interview a representative sample of both men and women experiencing homelessness, accepting limitations in identifying a true sample given that all participants were recruited through homeless agencies. Interviews were conducted one on one, tape recorded, and transcribed. Tapes were destroyed upon completion of the project. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to go through a series of questions to address participants' voting attitudes, past and intended behaviours, and experiences with the electoral system and voting.

Summary of Outcomes of Interviews1:

Profile of Participants

  • Total Number of Participants: 39 (25 male, 14 female)
  • Average Age: 33 (range: 19–47)

Voting Behaviours of Participants

Number of participants:

  • Percent of regular voters: 28%
  • Percent of intermittent voters: 26%
  • Percent of discouraged voters
    (have voted but no longer interested in voting; state they will not vote again; last voted over 10 years ago): 13%
  • Percent that stated they had never voted: 33%
  • Total percent of non-active voters: 46%

Voting intentions of participants for 2004 Federal Election

  • Percent stating desire to vote: 64%
  • Percent stating desire not to vote: 27%
  • Percent unsure: 9%

Enrolment of participants

  • Percent enrolled (only 1 participant at correct address): 62%
  • Percent not enrolled: 36%

1 Thompson, J. (2004)