Participant Observation: A Guide for Fieldworkers
Participant Observation is a central and defining method of research in cultural anthropology, as well as a common feature of qualitative research in a number of other disciplines sociology, education, health sciences. The authors have written the basic guide to the collection of systematic data in naturalistic settings communities in many different cultures to achieve an understanding of the most fundamental processes and patterns of social life. This book is written for the beginning researcher in qualitative and ethnographic methods, and is a useful reference for the experienced researcher who wishes to develop further field skills. Kathleen and Billie DeWalt provide a summary of the theoretical and historical background of the method, but focus especially on practical applications and acquisition of the techniques of participant observation. Chapters include explanations of becoming a participant (involvement) and an observer (detachment) in fieldwork; sampling techniques; gender and sex issues in the field; designing research; language facility and cross-cultural communication skills; informal interviewing; writing descriptive field notes; analyzing field notes; and dealing with culture shock, dangerous field situations and ethical concerns. The advantages of participant observation exist in enhancing the quality of research data and continual reassessment of research questions. Participant observation is the foundation of ethnographic research design, and supports and complements other types of qualitative and quantitative data collection. This book will be a valuable reference for anthropologists, sociologists, and other researchers who employ qualitative methods in their research."
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