III.3. Ethnography and participant observation

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Nicholas Rush Smith
CUNY - City College
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2016 12:05 pm

Transparency and Day-to-Day Fieldwork

PostWed Sep 07, 2016 5:32 pm

From the moderators: What should ethnographers be transparent about regarding the day-to-day conduct of their fieldwork and how can they do so in ways that safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of research interlocutors? In addition to potential human subjects concerns, what factors might limit the ability of ethnographers to be transparent about the day-to-day practice of their research?

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Samantha Majic
John Jay College-CUNY
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:00 pm

Re: Transparency and Day-to-Day Fieldwork

PostThu Oct 20, 2016 8:24 am

nrsmith.ccny wrote:From the moderators: What should ethnographers be transparent about regarding the day-to-day conduct of their fieldwork and how can they do so in ways that safeguard the privacy and confidentiality of research interlocutors? In addition to potential human subjects concerns, what factors might limit the ability of ethnographers to be transparent about the day-to-day practice of their research?


Ethnographers should be (and usually are!) transparent about how they accessed their sites/communities, their daily research routines (how and where they spent their days), how they interacted with participants and to what end (eg via formal interviews, conversations, etc), and their field note practices. However, sharing all of this does not mean that ethnographers must reveal the precise locations, names of people, etc, especially in cases where this information could endanger research participants (in these cases, ethnographers can provide more general details that still explain the site without giving it away, eg "my main research site was a drug rehabilitation center in a large city on the East Coast").

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