05: Sampling and Participants

The majority of informants were recruited during participant observations among JWs, as the goals were to gain familiarity and to promote a dialogical relationship between investigators and participants (Becker & Geer, 1967; Van der Lans, 2002). The first author conducted the interviews. Eleven persons were interviewed alone, while nine interviews were carried out in pairs of either friends living together or married couples. To ensure variation and to secure anonymity, informants were recruited from five different congregations.

The informants were strategically recruited, and their characteristics and variations were accordingly purposive. The primary inclusion criterion was that the interviewees were active and participating members of a congregation. Second, informants were recruited based on diverse experiences due to life situations, age, sex and being born into versus recruited into JWs in order to ascertain a diversity of themes. Fifteen women and 14 men in the age range of 20-80 were interviewed (see Table 1 for demographic characteristics). The interviewees were given an informed consent form beforehand, which provided information on aims, confidentiality and the right to withdraw from the study. On average, the interviews lasted two hours and 30 minutes. The interview locations were in the homes of the participants in 13 cases, while seven were conducted in an office or a Kingdom Hall. The interviews were conducted between May 2011 and June 2012.

Table 1 Characteristics of Informants

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