The paper presents an application of a mixed-methods designThe paper presents an application of a mixed-methods designin the study of interethnic attitudes (prejudice). Its goal is toanalyze the relationship between attitudes towards the Romaand contacts with members of this group. Both quantitative andqualitative empirical material is used here and methodologically,the analysis presented seeks to verify the applicability, limitsand usefulness of mixed methods for prejudice research. Theoretically,the text is based on the contact hypothesis, whichmainly holds that contacts with members of a group that istargeted by prejudice lower the level of prejudice towards thegroup as a whole. It was formulated by Gordon Allport in the1950s and developed later by authors like Thomas Pettigrewor Linda Tropp. The premises of the contact hypothesis are appliedin the case of attitudes towards the Roma in the CzechRepublic. Mixed-methods design provides the methodologicalframework for this study. A secondary analysis of quantitativesurveys (by the Public Opinion Research Centre) is followed(enriched and deepened) by a primary analysis of qualitativesemi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of membersof the Czech majority. This mixed design is intended toachieve more comprehensive and convincing results comparedto a single-method (either qualitative or quantitative) approach.
Results of the quantitative surveys show that intergroup contact is related to reduced prejudiceResults of the quantitative surveys show that intergroup contact is related to reduced prejudiceand that the effect of contact is stronger than that of sociodemographic variables likeeducation or age. At the same time, even among people who have positive contacts with theRoma (as their friends or good acquaintances), the attitudes to this group as a whole (i.e. theRoma as a social category) are only relatively less prejudiced, and the absolute average levelof prejudice towards the Roma is quite high even among them. The qualitative part of theresearch shows mechanisms that can explain both the process of mitigating prejudices and,maybe even more strongly, persistence of prejudices among the people who have contacts.Interview participants argued about “normality of prejudiced attitudes” and “exceptionality” oftheir Roma friends, which enabled them to have good relations with concrete individuals andat the same time keep negative attitudes to the group as a whole.The data analyzed have several limitations. The quantitative data are cross-sectional, notlongitudinal, so causality can be targeted only indirectly. Contact with the Roma is describedonly by one simple indicator of whether the respondent has a friend or good acquaintanceamong the Roma. The qualitative data have some limits, too – the sample is highly variablebut fails to include people with pronounced prejudices against the Roma or people from thelowest social strata of the society.