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Field Research ( 質化田野研究、田野調查 ). Social Research Methods 2113 & 6501 Spring, 2006 April 3-24, 2006. (Qualitative) Field Research ( Ethnography, Participant observation ) ( 民族誌、參與觀察 ). produce qualitative (non-numerical) data very old and very new in social science

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Field Research ( 質化田野研究、田野調查 )

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field research

Field Research (質化田野研究、田野調查)

Social Research Methods 2113 & 6501

Spring, 2006

April 3-24, 2006

qualitative field research ethnography participant observation
(Qualitative) Field Research (Ethnography, Participant observation) (民族誌、參與觀察)
  • produce qualitative (non-numerical) data
  • very old and very new in social science
  • direct and face-to-face social interaction with “real people” in a natural setting (自然情境下的與人面對面的社會交流)
  • Interesting but could be time consuming, emotionally draining and sometimes physically dangerous
part i
Part I
  • Research questions appropriate for field research
  • A short history of field research
  • The logic of field research
  • Choosing a site and gaining access
  • Relations in the field
research questions appropriate for field research
Research Questions Appropriate for Field Research
  • Provide a very comprehensive perspective, so it’s appropriate for topics defying simple quantification (完整深入的觀察,適合無法以量化方式呈現的研究主題)
  • Study attitudes and behaviors best understood within their natural setting (適合在自然情境下最能被理解的態度和行為)
  • appropriate when studying a group of interacting people
  • Study: people in a location, amorphous social experiences (不定型的社會經驗)
  • The strength: reveal things that would not otherwise be apparent (發現顯示那些並非顯而易見的事物)
terminology of field research
Terminology of Field Research
  • Members (成員): people who are studied in a field setting (被研究者,即觀察對象)
  • The Outsider (局外人): 即研究者
a short history of field research
A short history of field research (也可視為不同質性研究典範興起的過程)
  • Academic field research began with anthropology
  • Chicago School of Sociology (芝加哥社會學派)
    • 1910s~1930s: journalistic and anthropological models of research (探討真正發生什麼事 & 用局內人的觀點看世界)
    • 1940s~1960s: developed participant observation (參與觀察)
      • In situ, direct interaction, members’ perspectives (研究自然場域、直接與人互動、以成員觀點瞭解世界)
a short history of field research1
A short history of field research (也可視為不同質性研究典範興起的過程)
  • Declined after WW II
  • Revived in the 1970s and 1980s
  • Today: an activist or social constructionist perspective on social life (行動主義或社會建構觀點納入社會生活)
    • Social processes of negotiation, discussion, and bargaining to construct social meaning


Ethnography (民族誌)
  • Ethnography: describing a culture and understanding another way of life from the native point of view (描述某種文化及從原始觀點去了解另一種生活方式)
  • Moving from what is heard or observed to what is meant (從所觀察聽聞到的推演到其意義)
  • Cultural knowledge: explicit knowledge (顯性知識—人們能描述事件的發生) and tacit knowledge(隱性知識—為了和他人有所區隔而沒有明說的文化規範)
  • Thick description: rich, detailed description of specifics (豐富、充滿細節的描述)
Ethnomethodology (俗民方法論)
  • The study of common sense knowledge (對常識的研究,觀察在自然情境持續的社會互動中常識如何被創造及運用)
  • Assuming that social meaning is fragile and fluid
    • Meaning is constantly being created and re-created
  • People “accomplish” commonsense understanding by using tacit social-cultural rules (人們藉由隱性社會文化原則完成對常識的理解)
  • Breaching experiments (破壞實驗:證明人們在日常生活中創造現實感的簡單隱性原則)
the logic of field research
The logic of field research
  • More of an orientation toward research than a fixed set of techniques
  • Naturalism(自然主義): observing ordinary events in natural settings, not in researcher-created settings
  • Direct involvement in the field: fun, exciting, but time, physically and emotionally demanding (實際田野研究有趣但花時間,且身心影響大)
what do field researchers do
What Do Field Researchers Do?
  • Observe events/activities in natural settings
  • Directly involved with the people being studied
  • An insider and an outsider (得到圈內人的看法但維持局外人的分析觀點)
  • Use different techniques and social skills flexibly
  • Produce extensive written notes (and other forms of data)
what do field researchers do1
What Do Field Researchers Do?
  • Sees events holistically and individually (全面獨立的觀察)
  • Understands and develops empathy for members in a field setting (對成員的同理心)
  • Notices both explicit and tacit aspects of culture (文化中外顯與隱藏的面向)
  • Observes ongoing social processes without disrupting or imposing an outside point of view
  • Copes with high levels of personal stress, uncertainty, ethical dilemmas, and ambiguity (能調適高度的個人壓力、不確定性、道德兩難、模糊情況)
steps in a field research project
Steps in a field research project
  • Flexibility: researchers can shift direction and follow leads
  • Getting organized
    • Can begin with their own experiences
    • Careful looking and listening, short-term memory, and regular writing
    • Learn concepts and data collection methods
    • Defocusing (去除焦點: 看更廣大的情境或場域,不要把焦點放在研究者身上)
    • Self-knowledge
      • Strong impact on a researcher’s identity and outlook
choosing a site and gaining access
Choosing a site and gaining access(選擇研究場域然後進入)
  • Selecting a site: consider your research questions
    • Consider: richness of data, unfamiliarity, suitability
  • Level of involvement: depending on the degree of detachment or involvement with members
    • A detached outsider vs. an intimately involved insider
level of involvement
Complete observer

observer as participant

participant as observer

(researcher participant)

complete participant

As an outsider:

Less time, overrapport less an issue, sometimes can helps members open up

Misinterpretation more likely

As an insider

Empathy (同理心), can share a member’s experience

Some difficulties exist

Level of involvement
Gatekeepers (守門者)
  • A gatekeeper: someone with the formal or informal authority to control access to a site (有著正式或非正式的權力,能控制人們進入某個場域)
  • To negotiate with gatekeepers and bargain for access (與守門者協商以進入某場域)
strategy for entering
Strategy for entering
  • Planning: needs commonsense judgment and social skills, re-entry possible (須要計畫: 常識判斷及社交技巧。有時需再進入一場域)
strategy for entering1
Strategy for entering
  • Negotiation (協商): to form social relations, use connections, networking, or use informant
  • Disclosure (揭露研究者的身分和研究計劃): how much to reveal about yourself and the research project
    • Explain the project to gatekeepers and others unless you have a good reason not to
entering the field

Entering the field (進入研究場域)

Presentation of self (呈現研究者的自我)

Researcher as instrument (研究者為研究工具)

An attitude of strangeness (持陌生的態度)

Building rapport (建立關係)

entering the field1
Entering the Field
  • Presentation of Self: be conscious about it
    • Presentation depending on the occasion
    • Self-presentation may influence field relations (研究者的自我呈現可能會影響田野中的社會關係)
entering the field2
Entering the Field
  • Researcher as instrument: the researcher is the instrument for measuring field data (研究者為研究工具: 研究者測量蒐集田野資料)
    • Be alert and sensitive to what happens in the field and to be disciplined about recording data (對田野中發生的情形時時保持警覺與敏感度,並記錄觀察資料)
    • It has personal consequences (實地觀察的經驗對研究者個人有一定影響)
    • Be honest about personal, subjective experiences (誠實記錄個人主觀的經驗感受)
entering the field3
Entering the Field
  • An attitude of Strangeness: question and notice ordinary details (持陌生的態度: 以外人的態度質疑注意一般細節)
    • difficult to recognize what we are very close to
    • People rarely recognize customs they take for granted
    • The Martian vs. the convert (a stranger’s and an insider’s point of view) (局外人與圈內人的觀點)
    • Reconsider your own social world
entering the field4
Entering the Field
  • Building Rapport by getting along with members in the field (與觀察對象建立關係)
    • Not always easy
    • Charm and Trust: Need social skills and personal charm, takes times to build trust
    • Freeze outs (不願合作或不願參予研究的成員): members refuse to cooperate or become involved in the study
    • Understanding: precondition for greater depth, create empathy
relations in the field
Relations in the Field (研究場域裡的關係)
  • Roles in the field: needs to negotiate self-representation, social roles, preexisting roles assigned early by members
    • Roles affected by ascriptive factors and physical appearance, ex: gender is important
    • Any role limits access to some part of a field site, may become a friend or an enemy of some members, be aware of danger and high risk (see box 13.4)
relations in the field1
Relations in the Field

Learning the rope

  • Stress: some emotional stress is inevitable, ex: embarrassment, discomfort, overwhelmed by the details in the field, loneliness, isolation, etc.
relations in the field2
Relations in the Field
  • Normalizing social research: help members redefine social research (將社會研究正常化: 幫助成員重新定義社會研究)
    • Explaining yourself, explaining field research, accepting minor deviance, appearing nonthreatening
    • Explaining research in terms members understand
relations in the field3
Relations in the Field
  • Acceptable incompetent: partially competent but accepted as a nonthreatening person who needs to be taught (可接受的無能: 某人只具備部分能力,但不具威脅性,可被教導)
    • To learn, not to be an expert
relations in the field4
Relations in the Field

Maintaining relations (維持社會關係)

  • Social relations: developing, modifying, breaking social relations
  • Small favors (舉手之勞,小忙): small tokens or favors are exchanged, ex: deference and respect
  • Conflicts in the field
relations in the field5
Relations in the Field

Maintaining relations

  • Appearing interested (表面上的興趣): researchers pretend to be interested in members’ activities even though they are actually uninterested
  • Social breakdown (社會衝突): two cultural traditions or social assumptions fail to mesh, hidden routine expectations and assumptions become explicit in a breakdown