Participant Observation Chandler Griffith 3/12/12
Mock Participant Observation • Research Questions: How do first-year graduate students in the CU geography department view social dynamics within the department? To what extent does the department support individuality or favor teamwork? • Methods: Participation in and observation of “likert scale” activity.
Why Participant Observation? • Facilitates trust between principal investigator and research subjects • Affords access to “tacit” knowledge and culture • Can augment research involving “explicit” knowledge and culture gained from other qualitative methods • Can be used to validate and/or inform the direction of quantitative research
Methods and Forms • Living in context for extended period of time (active participation • Using local language and dialect • Using everyday conversation as interview technique • Structured observations and records (field notes) ( Dewalt and Dewalt, 2011)
Malinowski • “In fact, as they knew that I would thrust my nose into everything, even where a well-mannered native would not dream of intruding, they finished by regarding me as a part and parcel of their life, a necessary evil or nuisance, mitigated by donations of tobacco” (Bronislaw Malinowski, 1922)
Mead “All work is done in the native language…Very little of it was therefore gathered in formal interviews but was rather deviouslyextracted from the directed conversations of social groups, or at formal receptions which the chiefs of a village afforded me on account of my rank in the native social organization” (Margaret Mead, 1930)
Thank You Questions?