1st Edition

Principles, Approaches and Issues in Participant Observation

By Danny L. Jorgensen Copyright 2020
    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    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.


    Preface, Acknowledgements, and Dedication


    One: Introduction

    Two: Philosophy and Methodology

    Three: Distinctive Characteristics

    Four: Values and Politics

    Five: Ethics

    Six: Facts and Representations of Them

    Seven: Conclusion




    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.