This book provides a succinct, student-friendly outline of the principles, approaches, and issues in participant observation. An examination of these basic tenets is important for clarifying the philosophical rationale for conducting participant observation, making important research decisions, and appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches within the method.
Participant observation as a formal means of inquiry is developed in close relation with the competing approaches of reality (ontology), truthfully apprehending reality (epistemology), and formal research (methodology). In this volume Jorgensen discusses the resulting methodologies of positivism, humanism, and most recently postmodernism in relation to principles, approaches, and issues in participant observation. Specific features of participant observation, as exemplified in a wide range of classic and contemporary studies, are examined by way of these methodological approaches along with the troublesome complexities of values, politics, ethics, and contemporary debates over appropriate representations of the resulting findings about human life.
This concise primer is suitable for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide range of disciplines such as anthropology, religious studies, sociology and nursing.
Table of Contents
Preface, Acknowledgements, and Dedication
Two: Philosophy and Methodology
Three: Distinctive Characteristics
Four: Values and Politics
Six: Facts and Representations of Them
Danny L. Jorgensen is Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida. Dr. Jorgensen’s teaching, research, and writing has focused on the sociological consequences of modernity, especially secularization, using a variety of qualitative methods, chiefly participant observation.