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soc 232 March 8.doc

Course Code
SOC 232
Stuart Leard

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Soc 232
March 8 2013
Access to Closed Settings which are formal organizations:
There are many different ways to gain access:
Friends, contacts, and colleagues.
Get someone in the organization to vouch for you: a ‘sponsor’.
Even if acquired, you may need the approval of ‘gatekeepers’.
It may be necessary to offer something in return, e.g. a copy of the finished study.
Access to Closed Settings, cont’d.
Provide a clear explanation of your aims and methods.
Be willing to negotiate the terms of access.
Be open about how much time research participants would have to spend.
Access to Open Settings
Sometimes a similar process to access closed settings.
May need to get ‘sponsors’ and ‘gatekeepers’ on side.
E.g. Taylor (1993) - assistance of a drug counsellor
- a ‘research bargain’
‘Hanging around’ may help.
E.g. Wolf’s (1991) access to a Canadian biker gang.
- “looking the part”
- the leader of the Rebels MC acted as his sponsor.
Ongoing Access: overt, open and closed settings
Ongoing access can be problematic.
People get suspicious of the researcher’s motives.
Group members fear that what they say or do will get back to bosses or
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