sy281 midterm 1:2.docx - Naturalistic studies(chapter 3...

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Naturalistic studies (chapter 3) ethical research The process of deciding what is interesting to study and whether you can gain ethical access to appropriate settings may involve conversations and consultations with others, but the decisions themselves are personal. When a decision is translated into action, when your intention to do research is translated into beginning that research, the you encounter the first truly social moment of naturalistic investigation : getting in and gaining the acceptance of the people being studied. It is one thing to decide for yourself about interest, appropriateness, accessibility and ethics, it is quite another to get all the relevant parties to go along with your plan. In naturalistic field studies , the researcher does not exercise the control of power over the research subjects. In this tradition, you look at and/ or listen to people either because the people freely agree to it or because they do not know they are being studied. Since there is little or nothing to stop them from refusing to be interviewed, from denying an observer entry into their lives or from throwing out or shutting out secret investigator who is “uncovered”, getting in is of understandable concern to all potential field researchers. The specific type of relationship a prospective investigator has or will develop with the people or setting of interest generates its own set of problems, ethical questions, and solutions regarding the process of entry. Investigative roles field researchers might assume: o Types of settings o The unknown Investigator Public and Quasi Public Settings Private and Quasi Private settings o The Known investigator The ‘Insider’ Participant Researcher Role The insider has the advantage of already knowing the “cast of characters” or at least a segment of. While the outside researcher must discover whom to ask or tell first, weather formal permission is required, etc. to the insider participant researcher such
knowledge is part of the badge of membership and easily (if not always successfully) put to use. The “outsider” Participant Researcher role Strategic problem of getting in, falls to the outsider seeking admission to a setting for the purpose of observing it or securing access to individuals for the purpose of interviewing them. Connections – o “it’s not what you know, but who you know that counts” o You need connections in order to get into certain realms o Strategies: exploit existing social ties to the setting or group of interest; the other is to identify key gatekeepers and develop ties with them.

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