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MPW 2133

MALAYSIAN STUDIES
A SOCIAL STUDY ON RACIAL
HOMOPHILY IN CAMPUS
DR RAJA AHMAD ISKANDAR12540
RAJA
YAAKOB
KOHILA MARIAPAN
12617
BAVANI KOLAN DE VELU
TH

APRILMUTHU
2012
RANI6ELIZABETH
RUSTAM TALIPOV

12834
12262

YASHADINI ANANDARAJAH

12899

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION......................................................................................................................
LITERATURE REVIEW...........................................................................................................
PROBLEM STATEMENT.........................................................................................................
FINDINGS.................................................................................................................................

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SAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRE...............................................................................................
BAR CHART REPRESENTATION.....................................................................................
PIE CHART REPRESENTATION.......................................................................................
DATA ANALYSIS....................................................................................................................
RECOMMENDATION............................................................................................................
CHALLENGES........................................................................................................................
CONCLUSION........................................................................................................................
REFERENCE...........................................................................................................................
APPENDIX..............................................................................................................................

INTRODUCTION
The notion of homophily is among the oldest and most recurrent in social
science. Homophily is defined as tendency of individuals to associate and bond with
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similar others. The idea of homophily is very common in our society today. The
pervasive fact of homophily means that cultural, behavioral, genetic, or material
information that flows through networks will tend to be localized. Homophilous ties
provide valuable sources of mutual support but may limit racial minorities access to
resources and information in organizations. Our study case focuses on racial homophily
issue among the UTP students. Students are the future of the nation and also catalyst of
the education business. They must work together in order to achieve their academic
goals in university such as scoring high in subjects and also graduating with flying
colors. Even though it seems like they merely depend on their coordinator such as
lecturers or tutors in their study, informal relations such as friendship among
coursemates is mutually important for their survival in university years. Students need
to have verbal communication and interact with each other during class hours. They
will be engaged in informal communication when it is out-side the formal time. The
students manage their activities such as group studying, discussion and work-related
study formally by managing them in accordance with the organizational rules and
regulations, structure and system. This will generate the formal relations among them.
On the other hand, informal communication between students exists when they are
voluntary to mix up together in any activities and keep interacting with each of the
members in the group. Informal networks such as cliques are developed based on the
similar traits. It can be similar interest, hobby, culture, language and etc. This relation
developed is not to fulfill their formal endeavor, but more on achieving their personal
goals.

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LITERATURE REVIEW
Today, universities around the world highly stress on racial homophily and it
remains as a key focus of attention with respect to diversity in education. The reasons
for this to be in place were already discussed in introduction part of this research. Such
a focus on racial diversity has provoked many related researches, in order to understand
the issue deeper and get some qualitative data for analysis of it. Studies of racial
homophily and the past topic related research reveals that interracial friendships are far
less common than same race friendships (Hallinan & Williams, 1989; Joyner & Kao,
2000; Lewis, 2012).
To avoid the problems of interpreting the consequences of attitudes, many
studies focus directly on actual relationships. Dubois and Hirsch (1990) asked
respondents whether or not they had other-ethnic friends. Patchen (1982) asked
respondents how much they interacted with other-ethnic peers. Sometimes a personal
network approach was used to determine the prevalence of inter-ethnic relationships. In
these studies respondents were asked to name their (for example, three) best friends and
were then asked to indicate which ethnic group each friend belonged to (Fong & Isajiw,
2000) and (Smith & Schneider, 2000). The main limitation of these studies is that the
number of other-ethnic friends or the ratio of other-ethnic friends to same-ethnic friends
says nothing about the respondents individual inclinations because the studies did not
control for the opportunities for relationships. Because schools, neighborhoods,
universities, etc. are often segregated, people often have more opportunities to engage
in relationships within their own group. They might, for instance, prefer inter-ethnic
relationships but still have more intra-ethnic than inter-ethnic relationships because
they live in a mono-ethnic neighborhood or visit a mono-ethnic school (Baerveldt &
Van Duijn, 2004).

Some studies have tried to measure in-group preferences using

different, nonstandard questionnaires. For example, Kinket and Verkuyten (1999) asked
students to rate different ethnic groups on several attributes, such as honesty and
smartness. Verkuyten et al. (2006) asked students to rate different ethnic groups on how
much they would like to interact with a representative of these groups. Patchen
(2002) questioned students on a wide range of attitudes towards their own group and

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other groups. Although these studies clarify some of the processes regarding the
formation of intra-ethnic preferences, they do not add to the explanation of ethnic
boundaries. It is not clear how peoples preferences relate to actual behavior since,
depending on the circumstances, they may act very differently from their expressed
attitudes, for instance, when they are pressured by others.
Many of the researches were concentrated on finding out the reason for racial
segregation, yet conclusions were diversified. Thus, a preference for intra-ethnic
relationships could be explained by the social identity theory (Tajfel and Turner, 1979),
which states that people need to belong to a group with a special identity. For many
people, ethnicity serves this purpose. A social identity generally motivates people to
accentuate their differences with people in other groups rather than their similarities,
augmenting prejudice rather than diminishing it, and thus preventing inter-ethnic
relationships from developing (Wimmer, 2010).
In order to show the importance of studying racial segregation, many researches
were conducted. In Social network integration during the college and university years
could have a long-term impact on broader racial integration in U.S. society. First,
connections made during the college years have lasting importance, as networks of
strong and weak ties are formed that can have substantial impact over the course of a
lifetime. When students leave college, the network becomes a web of ties. In a separate
research entitled When Does Race Matter in College Friendships? Exploring Men's
Diverse and Homogeneous Friendship Groups, the author states that the qualitative
study explores how male students from different racial backgrounds experience racial
diversity within racially diverse or homogeneous friendship groups. Based on an
inductive analysis of purposive interviews, the author found that diverse friendships
among men may result from both an attitude of intentionality with regard to diversity as
well as a complete dismissal of difference. Similarly, racial homogeneity among friends
is not always intentional, nor does it necessarily lead to racial isolation (Antonio and
Lising, 2004)
In Malaysia, homophily in university was investigated under the research title
of A Test On Homophily As the Basis of Classrooms Informal Networks
(N.K.Kamarunzaman and A.A.Zawawi,2010). In their research, 10 homophilious
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factors were tested on 23 student of Diploma Public Administration, UiTM Kedah.
Later, the data were analyzed using the UCINET6 program, a program used to analyze
relational data. The formation of cliques was the main finding of this test.In the social
sciences, the word "clique" is used to describe a group of 2 to 12 (averaging 5 or 6)
persons who interact with each other more regularly and intensely than others in the
same setting. (Wikipedia). Some factors that propagated the formation of cliques
include similar interests/hobbies, and the need to perform the same task/assignment.
Students tend to keep close contact with the assignment group mates as this will help
them attain both formal goals and personal interest, graduating as an example. Other
contributing factors were the use of same dialect/language and the family background.

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PROBLEM STATEMENT
History shows that Malaya is a colonial creation with ethnic groups living side
by side but never mixed. Many factors have caused this situation. The first can be
traced back to the "divide and rule" policy during British colonization. This kind of
administration greatly limited interaction and communication among the different
ethnic groups and segregated them according to their economic functions. For example,
th e M a l a ys w e r e k n o w n t o b e f a r m e r s l i v i n g i n r u r a l a r e a s , Chinese
were involved in the commercial and mining sectors in urban areas while the Indians,
on the other hand, worked as labourers in estates and plantations.
The education system, as it was long before we know it today also varied
according to different ethnic groups in terms of curriculum and methods of
dissemination. There was no such thing as a standardized education system back then.
Since these vernacular schools comprised a single race, lessons were conducted in its
respective language, such as Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. Due to the inconsistencies
and differences in the education system, there existed barriers and gaps among the
different races in Malaya.
All these shows that racial homophily has been happening before the
Independence Day itself during the colonization era by other countries and its
effectscan still be clearly seen in our current daily life. For example, in our
campus,students tend to mix more with their own race. The main objective of this test
is to study racial homophily and the students awareness and opinion on this issue. The
view of the younger generation on this matter is essential as they are the future leaders
of our country. We need to investigate both the short and long term effect of racial
homophily as it is one of the determination factors of our countrys future development.
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FINDINGS
SAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRE
RACIAL HOMOPHILY pervasive tendency of people to associate, mix with
people of similar race or ethnicity as theirs.
1. Age Range
15-20
20-25
2. Gender
Male
Female
3. Race / Ethnicity
Malay
Chinese
Indian
Others. Please specify : _________
4. Are you aware of the homophily issue in our campus?
Yes
No
5. Rate the interracial relations / racial unity in our campus.
Poor
Average
Good
Excellent

6. Do you prefer mixing with your own race?


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Yes
No
If yes, why?
Language
Culture
Family background
All above
Other (please, state the other reason) ________________
7. How diverse is your close network of friends in terms of race?
Poor
Moderate
Good
Excellent
8. Does racial homophily have negative effects your study life in campus?
Yes
No
If yes state the reason
_________________________________________________________
9. Do you think UTP is making any initiative to promote racial integration?
Yes
No
If yes, give an example
________________________________________________________________
_____

10. In your opinion, has a government project such as Satu Malaysia had any
positive impact on you or people surrounding you?
Yes
No
11. Is racial homophily threat for Nations (Malaysia) prosperous future?
Yes, strongly agree
Yes, to some extend
Maybe

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I don't think so
12. Suggest steps to overcome this issue.
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
_______________

BAR CHART REPRESENTATION

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Age Range
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%

Age Range

50%
85%

40%
30%
20%
10%

15%

0%
15 - 20 years

20 - 25 years

Gender
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%

Gender

50%
40%
30%

71%

20%

29%

10%
0%
Male

Female

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Race/Ethnicity
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%

Race/Ethnicity

43%
19%

19%

19%

Malay

Chinese

Indian

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Others

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PIE CHART REPRESENTATION

Are you aware of the racial homophily issue in our campus?


24%
76%

Yes
No

Do you prefer mixing with your own race?

29%
71%

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Yes
No

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Rate the interracial relations/ racial unity in our campus


10%

Poor
Average
Good
Excellent

33%
57%

Why you prefer mixing with your own race?


14%

Language
Culture
Family Background
All above
Others

24%

19%
43%

How diverse is your close network of friends in terms of race?


18%
32%

14%
36%

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Poor
Moderate
Good
Excellent

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Does racial homophily have negative effects on education?

48%

52%

Yes
No

Do you think UTP is making any intiative to promote racial integration?

46%

54%

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Yes
No

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In your opinion, has a government project such as Satu Malaysia had any positive impact on you or people surrounding you?

45%

55%

Yes
No

Is racial homophily threat for Nations (Malaysia) prosperous future?

23%
50%
27%

Yes, strongly agree


Yes, to some extend
Maybe
I don't think so

DATA ANALYSIS
In the survey conducted, around 15% of respondents are aged between 15-20
years while the remaining 85% are in between the range 20-25 years old. All the
respondents are UTP students from different races or ethnicity. Besides, 71% are males
and 29% of them are females. We found that most of our respondents are aware of
homophily issue in the campus. They realized that certain people tend to mix with the
people of similar race or ethnicity as theirs. This can be noticed when some people
form their own cliques to associate with whenever they engaged in any activities. On
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the other hand, we have minority of the respondents saying that they are not even aware
of this issue. For them, homophily does not really matter compare to other issues that
are currently happening in the campus.
When we question all the respondents on the rate of racial unity in our campus,
57% and 33% are saying that it is still at an average and poor level respectively. The
remaining 10% of respondents vote for the good level. A very important point to note,
nobody agrees that rate of racial unity is excellent in UTP. This marks the inexistence
of strong bond of interactions among students from different races in UTP. We can
clearly see that race and ethnicity are the biggest divides in social networks in the
campus. To be more specific, we inquire the respondents whether they prefer mixing
with their own race. As expected, 71% of respondents prefer to mix with their own
race. This is very common where most of them love to stick with their clique and feel
more comfortable around the people of same race. The remaining 29% do not prefer
mixing with their own race. We believe that these respondents are foreigners where
they tend to mix up and socialize with the people from all races in our country.
There are few reasons behind this issue. 43% of respondents are saying its
because of similar culture background. Theoretically, cultural differentiation leads
to the cultural convergence.The remaining think that both language and cultural are
contributing to homophily issue in UTP. Language plays a very important role as a
medium of communications among people. The primary function of language is
undoubtedly to facilitate interaction among people who may or may not come from
different cultural background. Students tend to interact more with the people from
similar culture and language thus neglecting those who are not in that circle.
Majority of the respondents think that racial homophily will have negative
effect on education. An example of this case would be sitting arrangement in classes
where usually the grouping would be based on race that is Malays will sit among the
Malays, Chinese among the Chinese and the same goes for Indians and foreign
students. Another example would be in doing group work such as projects or
assignments. Students tend to choose group mates of their own race. This can be due to
the language barrier or maybe because they are more comfortable with their friends of
the same race. On the bright side, this can be something good as students are able to
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express their opinion without having any difficulties in understanding each other. This
is because some students are more comfortable in talking using their mother tongue
rather than communicating in English. As a result, students can participate more in the
group work and thus perform better.
However, on the other hand, racial homophily will lead to poor networking
among races. Imagine having the freedom to choose your groupmate with the same
race always. There will be no harmony and no different opinion from different race or
culture. Besides that, your social of network will consist of only one race. Another
thing is the narrow way of understanding things when you only mix with students of
the same race. One good thing you can learn when you mix with other race is to learn
other language such as improving your English. All this will have long term effect on
your student life. Without racial homophily, you are able to improve your social skills
when you mingle around. This can be very useful for your future career where you will
meet people from different part of the world.
Moving on to the next point, that is whether UTP is making any initiative to
promote racial integration. 46% agree with the statement while the remaining 54%
disagree. Among the efforts done by UTP is the organization of cultural events such as
Indian Cultural Night, UTP Chinese Orchestra and International Cultural Night. All
these are events which can reduce social homophily not only by attending it but also
maybe through the interactions between the organizing committee. Besides that, UTP
academic committee has also made it compulsory for 3 rd year student to take
Engineering Team Project where students will be divided into groups of students from
different courses and races. This is a great effort taken by UTP to promote integration
between students from different courses and races. However, based on our survey, we
found out that some of the students are facing difficulties in communicating. For
example, an international student facing problem to communicate with his team mates
who are not fluent in English. This might end up affecting his grades. This clearly
shows the effect of racial homophily in education. Besides that, there are also student
bodies such as Majlis Perwakilan Pelajar (MPP) and International Student Council
(ISC) representing the local and foreign students which encourage multiracial students
to join and work together in voicing out students opinion. Indirectly, this will lead to a
more integrated community in UTP. Another important effort by UTP is the Mission
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Awareness Program (MAP) with its objective to generate integration between UTP
local and international students. Through this program, international students are
exposed to the local Malaysian culture. So, what they gain through the camp can be
useful in socializing with the locals. Overall, we can say that UTP is making initiatives
in promoting racial integration and we should appreciate that but those efforts taken are
just not sufficient or maybe we can say not effective.
Not only UTP but government has also been taking initiatives to promote racial
integration. For instance, 1 Malaysia project by our prime minister. Based on our
survey, we found out that 55% respondents agree that this project has positive impact
on us while the remaining 45% disagree. The survey shows that there is a general
acceptance of the 1Malaysia concept by UTP students overall, although each ethnic
group in the campus has its own narrow reservations. Those students who agree
mentioned that the 1Malaysia concept made them realise the importance of racial
integration. It succeeded in creating awareness among Malaysians from all walks of
life. However, on the other hand the percentage of students not agreeing to the
statement is quite high as well. They think that the concept does not really meet its
purpose of promoting racial integration. For example, UTP students are aware of the
concept yet they still mix around with their own race rather than mixing with everyone.
One important question to think about, is racial homophily a threat for
Malaysias prosperous future? 50% respondents strongly agree while 27% agree to
some extent. 23% think that it is possible for racial homophily to be a threat and 0%
disagree. Our country Malaysia is a multiracial country. We can clearly see that leaders
of our country now consist of people from different races. Imagine having leaders who
tend to mix around with their own race. That can definitely lead to racism which
focuses only on the benefits of their race rather than focussing on the nations
development. If there is no integration between races, it can definitely affect the
development and prosperity of the country. School or campus life is the best place to
get exposed to people from different races. Therefore, we must ensure that students in
our campus are aware of this issue.

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RECOMMENDATION
As the study suggests, one of the main reason a test was conducted is obtain
ways to overcome the issue of racial homophily in campus, well in this case Universiti
Teknologi PETRONAS. Students have to be encouraged to have a perspective that
emphasizes performance rather than race,this mentality will indirectly abolish the need
to be a racial homophile. As education is a backbone of any individual,school is a good
platform to promote racial unity and curb racial homophily. The recommendation stated
for this factor was the abolishment of vernacular schools as it in a way promotes racial
homophily. It is also suggested that opting for building of more national schools are
encouraged.
On the other hand, events that depict various cultures should be held. Events
like these will give chance to students to learn and accept other culture and race. As a
result, a understanding among the races will be created and the gap will be bridged. As
an example, food can be used as a culture promotion tool. Individuals of different races
can organize cultural potluck gathering where they can experience and learn cultures
through food. Besides that,educational talk shows that focuses on different races should
be carried out. In this case, students will be able to trade ideas and opinions on their
cultural and racial understanding. It will act as an essential platform for students to
learn about other races. As a result, racial homophily will be buried.
Since students are largely involved in groupworks as part of the studying
process, it is important that mixing between races is done to set up a group. This will
build a diverse atmosphere for the students to work in as there are racial integration and
ideas will not be biased. It is hoped that these ways will be executed successfully in the
near future in order to curb racial homophily for the betterment of the university,people
and the nation.

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CHALLENGES
In the process of completing our Malaysian Studies project entitled A Social
Study on Racial Homophily in Campus we encountered many challenges. The most
vivid challenge was our group members consisting of two different courses. We are
comprised of mechanical engineering and civil engineering department, therefore
fixing a meeting time was tough. Even though with such hurdle we manage to
successfully complete our project.
Next, our general topic was social; therefore there was a lot to choose from
since social issue is the current hype issue. But with crucial consideration our team
members settled with the topic racial homophily which has always been a problem in
every community but ignored as always. Racial homophily is pervasive tendency of
people to associate, mix with people of similar race or ethnicity as theirs. Since this was
not a mainly studied topic in Malaysia, we had to surf through some challenges to
obtain the research paper on this topic.
While carrying out the interview on our respondents who were all UTP students
consisting of all ages and races, we found that many did not want to cooperate when it
came to video interview. But there were few students who offered to help us on our
project and gave a sincere interview which really made our process easier.
The next step was to collect data obtained from the survey, interview and
journals/books. The challenges we had been here to come up with the method of
representation of the findings. We were supposed to come up with the best and most
comprehensible way of data representing because only then data analysis would be
easy.

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Lastly, in completing the report based on the survey, we had challenges in terms
or analyzing the findings collected. Since the outcomes are mostly assumed to be
hypothetical suggestion. But after few challenges our team members decided to think
critically and find solutions to our problem which is racial homophily.

CONCLUSION
Our major findings suggest that the homophily model applies
exclusively to all students in UTP. Though UTP students live in an environment with
different cultures and races among them, they could not be differentiated from their
single-race counterparts (statistically). Our evidence suggests that students seem to find
their place among single-race groups in spite of their identity asserting their racial
difference. However, their specific experiences of integration vary depending on their
racial backgrounds. Due to this, it was noted that none of the respondents chose
excellent for racial unity in UTP. This marks the inexistence of strong bond of
interactions among students from different races in UTP.
Most of the respondents chose to mix with friends of their own race. One thing
has to be noted here, having friends of our own race will also have adverse impact in
terms of education. Since Education is the platform for all future undertakings it is very
important for a person to be exposed to all races so that he will get connections and
widen his network. This might be helpful in his future if he is able to bond with all
races. At the same time, it contributes to nation integration as well because a person
who doesnt build network during study life would have difficulties in networking
during work life. So education is a foundation to strengthen nation through racial
mixing. Many respondents mentioned that aspects like culture and languages are
barriers to students mixing among their own races. We have to realize that we are now

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living in 21st century where every detail is just at our finger tips. So aspects like
language and culture should not come in between networking.
Steps should be taken to curb this outrageously growing racial homophily issue.
It should start as early as at home so that kids can discipline and practice themselves.
Parents should be expose kids to other culture and educate them in a good and limited
manner. Sending kinds to language classes might also help kids to boost the confidence
thus networking skills too. Whereas in schools, kids should be nurtured to mix around
in groups consisting of students of different races and of various culture. This will
automatically train them to share ideas on different things. Malaysia is a country
occupied by people of different nations, races and culture so it should be easier for us to
start curbing this issue.

REFERENCE
[1]
Wikipedia, free encyclopedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homophily

Homophily.

Retrieved

from;

[2]
Kamaruzaman N. Z., Zawawi A. A. (2010). A test of homophily as basis
of classroom informal networks Conference on Science and Social Research
(CSSR
2010)
Retrieved:
http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?
tp=&arnumber=5773901
[3]
Burgess S., Sanderson E., Umana Aponte M. (2011). School ties: An
analysis of homophily in an adolescent friendship network. University of
Bristol.
Retrieved
from;
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/cmpo/publications/papers/2011/wp267.pdf
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Mollica K. A., Gray B., Trevino Trevino L. K. (2003). Racial Homophily and

its persistace in Newcomers Social network. Organization Science. 14:123-136


Retrieved from; http://orgsci.journal.informs.org/content/14/2/123.abstract

[5]
Wimmer A., Lewis K. (2010). Beyond and below racial homophily:
ERG models of a friendship network documented on FACEBOOK. American
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Journal of Sociology. Volume 2, No 16, 583-642. Retrieved from:
http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/soc/faculty/wimmer/WimmerLewis.pdf
[6]
Doyle M. J., Kao G. (2004). Friendship choices of multiracial
adolescents: Racial homophily, blending or concession. Retrieved from:
http://www.socsc.smu.edu.sg/events/Paper/Grace_kao.pdf
[7]
Currarini S., Jackson M. O., Pin. P. (2009). Identifying source of racial
homophily in highschool friendship networks. Retrieved from:
http://www.stanford.edu/~jacksonm/racialhomophily.pdf
[8]
The
social
pathologist.
Retrieved
from:
http://socialpathology.blogspot.com/2011/04/homophily-and-psychologicalentropy.html
[9]
Gresenz C. R., Rogowsi J. Escarce J. J. (2009). Comunity demographics
and access to health care among U.S Hispanics. Retrieved from:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2754547/

APPENDIX
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