SOAN 2120 cH.11.docx

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Qualitative Field Research
-appropriate to the study of attributes and behaviours best understood in their natural settings & well
suited for study of social processes over time
Ethnography & Participant Observation
-these have in common the natural setting
-involves observation, participation, archival analysis, and interviewing
Case Study
-focused attention on a single instance of some social phenomenon/person
-can be used in qualitative and quantitative
-meant to focus on the specificities of the case as well as to be descriptive
Roles of the Observer
-acting as a participant has an ethical dilemma
-sometimes it’s needed to deceive participants so that they do not act differently from knowing they are
being studied [“reactivity”]
-anything the participant-observer does will affect the group in some way
Observing Outlaw Bikers
-wanted to learn about their own worldview
-found that rushing into trying to fit in didn’t work [had to be patient]
-soon he became close w/many members and became more involved [over 3 year period]
-found that the friendships he made w/them were genuine and they were more like brothers than
subjects to him
-as he became more fully participating, role as researcher became problematic [doing secretive research
on his now friends]
-eventually, word got out he was a student and they wanted to know if he would ever consider studying
the group [ was able to study in the open]
Various Frameworks for Field Research
Ground Theory
-attempt to derive theory from an analysis of the patterns, themes and common categories discovered
in observational data
-combining a naturalistic approach w/an explicit concern for systematic set of procedures
Extended Case Method
-the purpose of discovering flaws in and modifying existing social theories
-to lay out as coherently as possible what we expect to find in our site before the entry
Institutional Ethnography
-uses person al experiences of individuals to uncover the institutional power relations that structure and
govern their experiences
-uncover forms of oppression that are often overlooked by more traditional types of research
Participation Action Research
-to serve as a resource to those being studied [mostly disadvantaged groups] as an opportunity for them
to act effectively in their own interest
-to provide alternatives to the conventional view of the status and power differences between research
and subject
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