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Ocampo, Chelleanne Dalphnny


Written report on the journal article: “Those Who Were Born Poor: A Qualitative Study of Philippine

Poverty” by Ma. Teresa G. Tuason

The chosen article is a study on the psychological experience of Filipinos on being poor. In

this study conducted by Ma. Teresa G. Tuason, two groups of Filipinos were interviewed about the

effects of being raised poor. Her study’s research paradigms were grounded on constructivist and

critical theories. The use of constructivism may be an advantage in this study since it recognizes the

existence of possible realities and explores further their different meanings. Personal and social

meanings of the issue is taken into consideration as well as the researcher’s own interpretation. This

may give more information, but I also think that it may be disadvantageous to the results of the study

as there may be parts that have been influenced by the researcher’s beliefs or ideas. Using critical

method is also a good idea as it helps empower people, which is a main value in community

psychology. Poor people are often oppressed in this society and this research paradigm may help

engage these people so a lot more will be educated on the experiences and perspective of those who

were born poor. Since the research study focuses on Philippine context, the researcher incorporated

the Filipino traditions of oral communication, which includes the form of questioning called

pagtatanong-tanong, wherein this method assumes a level of trust and deep respect between the

researcher and the participant. I think that this method, especially since the researcher incorporates

trust and respect with the participant, is advantageous for the study that the researcher wants to

conduct because data that will be collected will most likely be true.

There were twenty-five Filipino participants gathered for this research and were grouped into

two- thirteen members who stayed poor in one group and twelve members who became rich in the
other group. Personally, I think I would prefer keeping the number of the two groups equal for equal

number of data. I liked that the participants volunteered to participate in this study because this will

already lessen the issue of being forced to answer questions regarding the study’s topic. A Snowball

Sampling technique was used to gather participants and a subjective indicator was used to identify

themselves with the criteria instead of an objective indicator where specific indicators such as the

income and level of education are mentioned. The participants identified themselves as “growing up

poor” and I think that this may affect the results of the study and there may be a chance that the data

that the researcher really wants may not be what the researcher gets in the end. All the participants are

Roman Catholic as stated in the study and I noticed that the research did not mention any question

that touches the religious or spiritual beliefs of the participant, so it may affect the outcomes

considering that we do not know the various levels of their religious faith or beliefs. The first group

of participants are Filipinos who are now living in the United States and the other group of participants

are Filipinos working as tricycle and jeepney drivers. The main researcher conducted the interview for

the group in the U.S while a Filipino researcher who is part of the second research team conducted

the interview for the second group or those who lived in the Philippines. The interview was conducted

in tagalog as well and this is a good approach since most of the participants did not have the chance

to study the English language. Since the main researcher is not really grounded on Filipino values and

culture, I think that it will affect the way she sees the data since the study is subjective as well. It is

good to see that the researcher maintained a one on one interview for all participants despite the long

distance and time consumed for the study. A convenient time and place was also set for the

participants of the study. The interview was also audio-taped and this is helpful for the researcher

because this will be her reference once she studies the data of her research. I also like that the

researcher conducted a follow-up thirty-minute interview several weeks later to verify the transcripts

and initial interview answers, but this was only applicable to the group who lived in the United States.
No follow-up interview was conducted anymore to the group who lived in the Philippines and I

assume that the researcher relied more on the audio tapes more for this group. During the initial

interview, the participants were grouped into twos or threes and they shared their experiences and

validated each others’ stories. I think this is good since the researcher was trying to see also the

common characteristics shared by these target participants who lived a similar status of living. Those

who are now rich have come up with plans to make their lives better while those who remained poor

still relied on luck. Those who are now rich also expressed more positive feelings than those who still

remained poor. The results showed that there were similarities and differences between the two

groups. They had similar experiences of deviation and some common feelings toward the experience

especially in negative terms. They had differing views on the way of coping with poverty and with the

characteristics of poverty as well.