Idaho State University Research Study On 'Real' Vampires
D.J. Williams, PhD is a visiting professor with the Department of Sociology, Social Work, & Criminal Justice at Idaho State University. He has written a couple of academic articles (in print) on the vampire community. He is interested in conducting a qualitative research study involving real vampires. The objective will center on how comfortable real vampires are or are not in divulging their vampire identities to a clinician (social worker, counselor, psychologist, personal physician, etc.) and why or why not. He feels that while these disciplines promote acceptance, welcoming of human diversity, social justice, cultural competence, etc., there is much progress yet to be made. In other words, this research perhaps may illustrate a need for professionals to expand their range of acceptance of people with diverse identities, beliefs and lifestyles.
The study will involve either a semi-structured interview or a short, open-ended written questionnaire. He does not need a particularly large sample (15+ is adequate), but the inclusion criteria is fairly specific.
Research Study Information:
A. Background: The study will be broadly situated within a social work perspective for several important reasons. First, my academic background is in social work and leisure sciences, so that's what I know best! Second, cornerstones of the social work profession include the recognition and celebration of human diversity, advocacy and the promotion of social justice, building human relationships, and self-determination. Social work is a common profession, and social work journals reach large academic and professional audiences. Social work is directly and practically relevant to promoting understanding and support of alternative identities, communities and lifestyles. Overlap in ethics and values with related professions (counseling, psychotherapy, etc) will also be noted.
B. Primary Purpose: The purpose of this study is to explore issues related to the disclosure of vampire identities to various clinicians (social workers, physicians, psychologists, counselors) using "thick, rich description." In other words, the primary research question centers on whether or not participants have or would disclose their vampire identities to such professionals. If so, what factors were important in shaping this decision and how did the disclosure process go? If disclosure has not occurred, then what are the constraints to such disclosure? The overarching goal of the study is to help professionals become more sensitive about vampire needs and issues (from the positioning of clinicians' own professional values and ethics).
C. Methods: I will primarily use qualitative methods shaped by a community-based research perspective (research should be designed to be beneficial to participant communities, as well as others). Participants will be real vampires (not enthusiasts, wannabes, fetishists, LARPers, etc) who have identified as a vampire for several years (I haven't set a numeric value here yet). Elders, particularly, would be excellent candidates for inclusion. If the study is funded, I will likely use in-person semi-structured interviews (approx 60- 90 min using note-taking), or possibly focus groups. If funding is not secured, I will likely use a short, open-ended written questionnaire, which can be returned to me via email. Common themes emerging from data will be identified using content analysis methods, and the study will be written and submitted to an academic journal. I will need approximately ten participants, although a few more would be optimal.
D. Approximate Timeline: Possible funding sources will be identified and a small grant written during Spring 2011. Grant will be submitted Spring 2011 or Fall 2011. Human subjects review (University ethics formal review process) will be completed early Fall 2011. At Idaho State University, oral history methods are exempt from review, thus I am anticipating either exemption or expedited review depending on the particular methods used. Thus, data collection would likely begin late Fall 2011. Analysis, reporting and submission to an academic journal would occur Spring / Summer 2012.
Please note that participant confidentiality is protected per accepted university research standards, and no identities will be revealed in data reporting. Participants' identities and responses will remain anonymous.
If this is something you may be interested in please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information:
Instructions: Copy / Paste Into E-Mail / Complete / Mail To: email@example.com Dr. Williams Will Contact Prospects Directly Based On Criteria Outlined Above
Name: __________________ Sex: ________ Age: ________ Location: __________________ How Long Have You Identified As A Vampire? ________ What Feeding Methods Do You Utilize? ______________________________________________________________ How Long Have You Participated In The Vampire Community (Online/Offline)? ________ / ________
ISU Professor Studies Self-Identified Vampires Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:16 AM ISU Press Release Idaho State Journal
POCATELLO – Idaho State University Assistant Professor of social work
D.J. Williams is devoted to researching “self-identified vampires” and
the vampire sub-culture and educating mainstream culture about them.
“My interests involve how self-identified vampires understand
themselves and their practices, and how they are interpreted by others,
based on existing social processes and available social discourses,”
Williams said. “I am one of the few scholars who has worked directly
with the vampire community.”
Williams has published on this topic in peer-reviewed academic journals Leisure Sciences and Leisure/Loisir,
and has acted as a consultant for the FBI regarding understanding
vampire identities, issues and practices. He has also been approached as
an expert for a proposed television documentary on these topics.
“It has taken me a long time to get the trust to work with
these self-identified vampires, because they are skeptical about how
outsiders will perceive them and they feel that they are easily
misunderstood,” said Williams, who has made contact with the vampire
subculture in several large urban areas of the United States and Canada.
said as a social scientist he is not concerned with being able to
scientifically define or identify those people who consider themselves
vampires. Rather, his interest is to study and communicate about this
self-identified group. Most large urban areas have a vampire subculture,
he said. Self-identified vampires do not believe they are superhuman
versions of various myths, according to Williams. Rather, these
self-identified vampires are normal human beings who simply identify
strongly with any number of traits associated with mythical vampires.
vampires are powerful, mysterious and seductive,” Williams said. “Some
of their traits are highly valued within the mainstream while other
traits are despised. Mythical vampires reflect a range of attractive and
undesirable human characteristics.”
Self-identified vampires say
they have different energy needs than other people and that they may be
distinguished based on the different sources of energy from which they
In the public mind people who identify themselves as
vampires may be seen as delusional, violent or dangerous, or identified
with criminals such as Jeffrey Dahmer.
community denies those things and isn’t associated with violent,
dangerous or criminal behaviors,” Williams said. “This community wants
to speak out and educate people on what they are and what they are not.”
Extensive demographic research conducted within the
international vampire community shows that they vary considerably in
ethnicity, religious affiliation, education, and psychological profile,
according to Williams.
“The underlying theme of all this is for
people to be more understanding and compassionate,” Williams said. “We
may be tempted to dismiss someone for what we identify them with, but
these are human beings who have a right to live happily and with
self-determination. With vampires and other groups I have worked with,
they are at-risk for discrimination, which is based on misinformation.
It is important for me to see how they are understood.”
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