Spending sufficient time in the field to learn or understand the culture, social setting, or phenomenon of interest.
This involves spending adequate time observing various aspects of a setting, speaking with a range of people, and developing relationships and rapport with members of the culture.
Development of rapport and trust facilitates understanding and co-construction of meaning between researcher and members of a setting.
The observer should be there long enough to:
- become oriented to the sitution so that the context is appreciated and understood
- be able to detect and account for distortions that might be in the data (e.g. researcher begins to blend in; respondents feel comfortable disclosing informaton that no longer 'tows the party-line')
- The researcher can rise above his or her own preconceptions
- The researcher builds trust
For more information on ethnography click here.
For more information on participatnt observation click here.