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Experiencing Fieldwork
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Experiencing Fieldwork
An Inside View of Qualitative Research

Edited by:

Volume: 124

December 1990 | 288 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Fieldwork has often been viewed as a great black hole, untaught and unteachable. While recent years have seen an increase in the number of how-to manuals for doing fieldwork, they never fully convey the complexity of the experience--the loneliness, the uncertainty, the moral dilemmas, the ambiguities. In Experiencing Fieldwork, a group of top ethnographers addresses various issues and challenges of the fieldwork experience. How do you gain entree into a setting? What tricks are there to learning the rules of the community without alienating the people you came to study? How are good relations maintained with informants? What happens after you leave the field? Using examples of research from police departments to schools, from nursing homes to motorcycle gangs, the essays in this absorbing volume make the process of fieldwork come alive for the reader and provide invaluable advice for those entering the field. Scholars, researchers, and students in the fields of sociology, anthropology, education, and organization studies will benefit from the insights contained in this practical volume. "The depth of research experience among the authors is impressive, as is the range of groups they have studied--from students to survivalists, and from health care practitioners to motorcycle gangs. . . . The articles are ideally suited to help novices realize that emotional and interactional quandaries are an integral part of field research, rather than idiosyncratic experiences deriving from their own lack of expertise." --Contemporary Sociology "The central strength of this edited volume as an instructional tool is its organizational respect for the theoretical tradition of symbolic interactionism. . . . Shaffir and Stebbins succeed in characterizing the research act as fully social action--as an ongoing production between positioned subjects. . . . Essays in each section provide a range of substantive materials and accounts from diverse ethnographic settings. The result is a detailed account of the process of doing fieldwork which provides the reader with a clear sense of ethnography as a practical accomplishment which rarely goes according to plan. A pedagogical strength of this text is to be found in the range of substantive settings made available to students. . . . Provides a tool through which students may demystify the exotic and attend to the problematic qualities of the everyday lives which they live. . . . A Valuable text for those teaching research oriented field methods courses." --The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology "A very credible work. . .this volume as a whole represents a distinctive contribution to the fieldwork literature. Most of the chapters more than adequately convey a meaningful sense of fieldwork experiences, and some of them are unique, exceptionally powerful, and truly outstanding. The text is valuable as an introduction to qualitative field research for advanced undergraduates, and especially for graduate students. Nonspecialists in other fields with an interest in methodology, research practice, and qualitative fieldwork will find it an inestimable resource. Specialists will especially appreciate the selections that develop key concepts on the basis of copious, concrete examples, as well as the several chapters that talk directly to other field-workers." --Journal of Contemporary Ethnography "For cultural anthropologists working in North America, and especially applied anthropologists, these essay's provide an insider's perspective on qualitative fieldwork and the many lessons to be learned from it." --American Anthropologist

 
Introduction
 
PART ONE: GETTING IN
John Van Maanen
Playing Back the Tape
Early Days in the Field  
Robert G Burgess
Sponsors, Gatekeepers, Members and Friends
Access in Educational Settings  
Joan Neff Gurney
Female Researchers in Male-Dominated Settings
Implications for Short-Term Versus Long-Term Research  
James T Richardson
Experiencing Research on New Religions and Cults
Practical and Ethical Considerations  
William Shaffir
Managing a Convincing Self-Presentation
Some Personal Reflections on Entering the Field  
 
PART TWO: LEARNING THE ROPES
David M Fetterman
A Walk Through the Wilderness
Learning to Find Your Way  
Richard G Mitchell Jr
Secrecy and Disclosure in Fieldwork
Christine Griffin
The Researcher Talks Back
Dealing With Power Relations in Studies of Young People's Entry to the Job Market  
Robert Prus
Encountering the Marketplace
Achieving Intimate Familiarity with Vendor Activity  
Jaber F Gubrium
Recognizing and Analyzing Local Cultures
 
PART THREE: MAINTAINING RELATIONS
Peter McLaren
Field Relations and the Discourse of the Other
Collaboration in Our Own Ruin  
A Donald Evans
Maintaining Relationships in a School for the Deaf
Patricia A Adler and Peter Adler
Stability and Flexibility
Maintaining Relations Within Organized and Unorganized Groups  
Sherryl Kleinman
Fieldworkers' Feelings
What We Feel, Who We Are, How We Analyze  
Ramona M Asher and Gary Alan Fine
Fragile Ties
Shaping Research Relationships with Women Married to Alcoholics  
 
PART FOUR: LEAVING AND KEEPING IN TOUCH
Daniel Wolff
High Risk Methodology
Reflections on Leaving an Outlaw Society  
Charles P Gallmeier
Leaving, Revisiting, and Staying in Touch
Neglected Issues in Field Research  
Ilene M Kaplan
Gone Fishing, Be Back Later
Ending and Resuming Research Among Fishermen  
Steven J Taylor
Leaving the Field
Research, Relationships, and Responsibilities  
Robert A Stebbins
Do We Ever Leave the Field? Notes on Secondary Fieldwork Involvements

A great book for anyone who is thinking to do qualitative research, in particular methods of ethnography and interviews. A book is published in 1991 thus some sections might be not so accurate in a current context

Ms Irena Loveikaite
Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
November 25, 2016

An insightful collection of essays; ideal for anxious undergraduates.

Miss Christine Hatcher
Health, Care and Early Years, Yeovil College
October 27, 2014

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