Science method

Participant Observation - Science method

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I have a question concerning how to classify this research approach. Let me give you the context:
A couple of colleagues and I found that a particular topic was showing itself to be particular tricky to teach in a classroom environment, thus we spent last year collecting literature on the topic and end up developing a theoretical framework for how to address the issue. We now plan to test our framework by implementing it in an undergrad classroom course that one of us is teaching.
Now here is the thing, we come from a social science background, and we intend to initially approach this effort qualitatively (through observation and semi structured interviews with participants). Thus, my initial reaction would be, from a methodological standpoint, to maybe call this a case study (see Yin, Merriam, Stake, etc.). However, considering that the person implementing the framework (and teaching the course) is also one of the researchers who developed it, can this still be called a case study? Or should it be considered something else? I've heard people suggest Action Research, Participatory Research, or event "a participant observer Case Study" but I'm not quite sure if this is quite it as well.
Any help would be appreciated, thank you.
Obs.: we are well aware of potential bias, and depending on the results of this first phase we then might, later on, run this again, this time as a more controlled experiment, comparing the framework version classroom outcomes’, against the ones from a "non-framework" one.
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Is case study a methodology? Robert Stake (1998) argues: "As a form of research, case study is defined by interest in individual cases, not by the methods of inquiry used". I find it enlightening to regard case study methodology as a meta-methodology; the methodological recommendation is to combine the methodologies which are useful in the light of the issue at stake. A methodology is a recommendation to rely on certain data collection methods, methods to analyze and apply specific quality criteria. Action research procedures and purposes, Grounded Theory methodology, Hypothesis-testing approach (Yin) are examples of methodologies which can be used, alone or in combination, in a case study. In short: (1) Case study methodology is a combined methodology: a meta-methodology, (2) object of the study is a case, (3) triangulation is an overarching quality criterium, (4) a purposeful sampling procedure is used to select the case(s). As a consequence: in research it is more important to make clear how it is done, rather than what it is.
Best wishes
Rolf
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I would like to add some visual example to illustrate the different types of participant observation (complete observer, observer as participant, participant as observer, and complete participant). Any suggestion is welcome.
Thank you,
Isabella
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I used participant/observation methodology for my dissertation and am wondering how to cite those sources.
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Often the need to anonymity in research ethics means that identifier information must be removed. This can preclude attaching the interview recordings and field diary notes. The standard way to cite field notes is to put the quote in quotation and the (fieldnotes, date) either after or in the footnote.
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We are working on reflection-in-action. More precisely, how junior doctors engage in reflection during the action and we are using shadowing as a data collection method. Of course, this is different from reflection-on-action (Schon), in which practitioners reflect after they have taken decision and actions. There is much more evidence on reflection-on-action.
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I agree that it is about time - which is a reflection of prioritisation - what an organisation values to invest time in. While there is little understanding about the value of reflective praxis, an organisation is unlikely to make time for it. And a couple of the key threats to this way of working being valued is a) it makes the invisibilised and unheard present, which can be threaten peoples' standing in many ways and b) it makes decision making distributed which threatens explicit and tacit power systems and cultures in organisations. So until the practice that requires reflection in action is related to an issue that is compelling enough to the organisation to learn about and support this transformative shift in how change is done, it is unlikley to be invested in. Added to this is that to do it well, we have to learn to learn which requires a formalised learning culture to built into an organisation or discipline - so the preproduction investment is also significnat.
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A philosophical question here: How can action researchers claim they made a certain impact? In other words, how can a researcher claim that it is because of his/her own action that a certain organisation/community/classroom, changed? (my quick answer would be: with data. But I could argue that this is hard to prove).
Do you know of any work discussing it?
A similar question could be, how can researchers performing participant observations claim they did not make any impact?
Hope you can help,
Thanks in advance!
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Hi Kien,
Thanks a lot for your answer. I agree with what you wrote, which makes me think about how important drawing a baseline is. Many of the contribution on action research I found, do not stress the significance of a properly documented baseline. However, many authors emphasise the importance of spontaneity of action research and adapting on the go, conflicting a bit with the idea of a strict plan. Planning, instead, is normally done dependent on the baseline. So here again, I am wondering how to combine a good degree of flexibility with the ability to keep track of researcher's impact, properly monitoring baselines, actual changes, and ultimately state that these changes could be/are our research output.
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Dear all,
Can anyone  recommend basic / classical books or papers that provide an introduction on how to carry out participant observation in health research (e.g. in care institutions)?
 Thanks a lot.
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Dear Adrian:
I strongly recommend you the following books:
Mack, N. et al. (2005). Qualitative research methods: A data collector’s field guide. Research Triangle Park, North Carolina: Family Health International.
Ulin, P.; Robinson, E. & Tolley, E. (2006). Qualitative methods in public health: A field guide for applied research. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Good luck!!!
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I am seeking your responses for my research project. I am interested, your voice relating to Indigenous community. Any help will be greatly appreciated
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Knowledge is never neutral. An individual's location within the social structure conditions his/her access to knowledge. This implies that there is a knowledge hierarchy and what you are told is what they want you to know. The custodians of local knowledge can grant access and therefore consent only if they want.
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For Example, if we carry out an event and want to see the level of participation of individual person, how can we measure it? Is making a video a good option? are there any other tools to measure the level of participation the person is offering? 
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Regarding public participation in urban and spatial planning I propose my forthcoming book "Planning, Participation, and Knowledge: Public Participation as a Tool for Integrating Local Knowledge into Spatial Planning" by Springer (200 pages).
This book provides a state of the art new approach to participatory planning, and generates innovative thought in planning theory and knowledge study. It draws on the rich repertoire of public participation practices that have developed globally over the last 50 years, and investigates the following questions: Which participatory practices most effectively capture residents’ genuine spatial needs, perceptions and desires? And how can these be incorporated into actual plans? These questions are treated in the book through the introduction of a new conceptual framework for participatory planning, one which redefines concepts that have been taken for granted for too long: those of “public participation” and “local knowledge”. The book is based on an empirical comparative examination of the effectiveness of various participatory processes, and it proposes practical solutions for public participation through two new instruments: the Practices Evaluation Tool, and the Participatory Methods Ladder. These instruments calibrate participation methods according to certain criteria, in order to improve their ability to extract local knowledge and incorporate it into planning deliverables. These new instruments correspond to and elaborate on Arnstein’s ladder - the 1969 theoretical landmark for participatory planning. Both academics and practitioners in the area of urban and regional planning will find this book to be an invaluable resource, given the way it develops both theoretical and practical cutting-edge outcomes.
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So I've been conducting participant observation for the past 8 months and I was wondering about administering a self-report survey with the other participants about how my participation/presence has affected their behaviour. Does anyone now of any literature about conducting self-report evaluations or has anyone tried to do this? I'd be interested in any model-questions that could be posed to the research subjects.
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Dear Ross,
I hope the following may be of some assistance.
Kind regards,
Paul Chaney
Carolyn Ellis, Tony E. Adams & Arthur P. Bochner (2011) Autoethnography: An Overview, Volume 12, No. 1, Art. 10 – January 2011. http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095%3Cbr
RM Emerson, RI Fretz, LL Shaw (2001) Participant observation and fieldnotes, Chpt 24 in Handbook of ethnography, in Atkinson, P. et al (eds) 2001, Thousand Oaks, Ca. SAGE
Rowe, A. (2014) Situating the Self in Prison Research: Power, Identity, and Epistemology, Qualitative Inquiry April 2014, vol. 20 no. 4, 404-416. http://qix.sagepub.com/content/20/4/404.abstract
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I am currently undertaking organizational ethnography research to ascertain an organization practices in terms of employment with regard to inclusion of people with disabilities in its sports programmes  
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That depends on your ethnographical approach:
In classical ethnography, you have very long field phases (often 2-3 years) in order to really get to know your field inductively.
In focussed ethnography, ypur prepare as well as possible, i.e. learn as much about the field in advance as possible and also specify your theoretical question, developing your instruments from that theoretical question. You then have very short field phases (2 weeks - 2 months) and best document your observations with video. The time you "saved" in the field is put in the analysis of the (video) data.
Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages - basically it is a trade-off between spending time for data collection and data analysis.
If you do not know much about your field, I recommend the classical approach. If you already know much about the field and know exactly what you want to know, I recommend focussed ethnography/video analysis.
If there are several organizations or departments within the organization, I further recommend spending a short time within each department (1 month in the first department, 2-3 weeks in the other departments) in order to get to know your field. The analyse your data and focus your research question (it is easier to see similarities and differences between fields, if one can compare them with data) and then do a second round of field work, this time working more focussedly.
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I am currently doing my dissertation on attitudes to mental illness. I am using the AMIQ by Luty which uses a likert type scale to measure participants responses. I am having a few issues on how to score and code the responses which they give 
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Read and follow the notifications of Berenice Royal, University of Hull, publishe in 201411 by Routledge, London, UK
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I'm trying to recruit women who are voluntarily childless or have once identified as voluntarily childless (living in the UK). I have advertised on relevant Facebook groups, tried on Mumsnet, Netmums, contacted some professional women organisations, although no reply. Any other tips on other ways of recruiting for online survey as well as face to face/telephone interviews? Many thanks
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Married or never married, widow, single? or does status not matter; what about age?  Sounds like snowball sampling?  Yes?
Maybe posting (with permission of course) flyers at women's medical clinics, library, hairdresser, college campuses, or other likely places where women congregate.