SAN JOSÉ STATE UNIVERSITY College of Social WorkS. W. 242Spring 2009Edward CohenWeek 2: January 30, 2009 Qualitative Research: Observing, Interviewing and Documenting “In the fields of observation, chance favors the prepared mind.” Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) I.Observing a Setting—How do you start? What do you observe? A.How do you start? In fieldwork and observation, the researcher must consider these issues in planning the study: 1.What is the role of the observer? a)Level of deception. There’s a continuum of information sharing: Complete deception (no disclosure), or covert observation •No Informed Consent •No information given about purpose of study Partial deception (partial disclosure) •Informed consent •Give general purpose of study but not specifics that might bias response No deception (complete disclosure) •Informed consent •Purpose of study •Research questions •Methods (without technical jargon) •Implications of study ***In what scenarios might each of these be appropriate? b)Researcher’s stance: insider or outsider? There’s a continuum of participant observation: Observation only No interaction with participants—complete outsider Participant observer Partial interaction with participants and participation in participants’ activities, while still observing and documenting field notes Complete participation No difference between researcher and participants’ roles—complete insider 1
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