Marketing Coordinator Essay Research Paper Traditional Research

Marketing Coordinator Essay, Research Paper Traditional Research Methods: Participant Observation What does Participant Observation bring to research?

Marketing Coordinator Essay, Research Paper

Traditional Research Methods: Participant Observation

What does Participant Observation bring to research?

H. Russell Bernard?s perspective on Participant Observation:

H. Russell Bernard describes participant observation as being the foundation of anthropological research, yet the well-defined methodological component of the discipline. The steps involved are establishing rapport in a new community, learning to act so that people go about their business as usual, and removing oneself from the everyday cultural immersion in order to intellectualize what one has learned, to put it into perspective, and write about it accordingly.

There is a fine line between participant observation and field research, although the results of both show distinct differences. Bernard proposes to think of participant observation independently of time. He further states that it is the only method that can truly yield understanding of social change, through very long-term participant observation over several decades. At the same time, participant observation can take place in a period of a few days, assuming that one speaks the native language, and is already familiar with the nuances of etiquette from previous experience. Bernard sites an example of his experience at the Laundromats during his college life.

Bernard defines participant observation as a strategy, rather than a method; a strategy that facilitates qualitative as well as quantitative data collection. Participant observation reduces the reactivity factor since the observer becomes less noticeable after a while. Lower reactivity increases the validity of the data. It also helps form sensible questions in the native language, which would never be possible from a remote location and without the intense knowledge of the culture. Participant observation allows one to make strong statements about cultural facts, as one understands the meaning of the observation, instead of merrily citing acquired data. Without knowing about some local customs and the expression for such, certain facts can never be revealed.

The proper skill set of a participant observer, consists of several attributes, not ignoring the general experience in the field. A researcher should become the instrument of both data collection and its analysis through ones own experience. Following are critical skills one should develop for success in participant observation:

?Learning the language so one can understand the observation and also ask questions that will clarify as well as further the research

?Building memory so one can accurately report the observation

?Maintaining Naivet?, through the genius willingness to learn

?Building writing skills so that field notes can be converted to published work

Entering the field:

Bernard considers the entry into the fieldwork as the most difficult part of participant observation. There are several ways to address this challenge:

?Choose a site that is easy to enter (provides easy access to data)

?Bring as much documentation about oneself and the project as possible

?Utilize all help possible (friends, connections, letters of recommendation, etc.)

?Be prepared for questions, show honesty and consistency

?Getting to know the physical and social layout of the field site.

Field research literature, work experience, and conversations with experienced researchers have brought Bernard to a finding on the different stages of Participant Observation:

oInitial contact

oShock

oDiscovering the obvious

oThe break

oFocusing

oExhaustion, the second break, and frantic activity

oLeaving

During the initial contact period, many anthropologists experience an extreme excitement as move into a new culture. Bernard states that cultural anthropologists are attracted to living in a new culture. However, there have been cases when the opposite occurred, usually caused by the effect of culture shock.

Almost all anthropologists report a form of depression and shock soon after their initial contact period. One form reveals itself in the anxiety to about their ability to collect good data. An good response, Bernard suggests, is to be highly task oriented, making maps, taking censuses, doing household inventories, collecting genealogies, and so forth. One can also carry out clinical, methodological field notes about feelings and responses in doing participant observation fieldwork. Another common experience is the culture shock. One focuses on little annoyances and is frustrated with everything around oneself as it is different from ones own culture. Bernard warns that one needs to be prepared for the challenge to remain a dispassionate observer, while another problem often sets in, the lack of privacy.

In the third stage, discovering the obvious, anthropologists experience the feeling that the informants are finally letting them into the core of their culture. That information, however, later turns out to be commonplace. At this stage, anthropologists feel like they belong and the ?village? appears almost like a home.

The break usually occurs after three to four months. It is an important opportunity to get some physical and emotional distance from the field site. The anthropologist has a change to reflect on the research done so far, on the initial goal, and plan the remaining steps for the visit. By returning to the community, one also demonstrates a genuine interest in it and establishes more trust with the informants.

The break allows for the fifth stage: focusing. The break allowed for a reflection and preparation that can now be applied for the focusing stage.

The sixth stage consists out of exhaustion, a second break, and frantic activity. The exhaustion sets in as one feels an embarrassment to keep asking the informants questions and one believes that the informants do not have any more information. As cultural knowledge is enormous and can barely be acquired during a few years, this feeling is a big misconception. At that point a second break is useful as it allows reflecting on that and realizing how much there is still to find. The break, however, causes the frantic activity, as one panics about how little time is left with so much work to accomplish.

Leaving the field in a genuine and positive manner is very important, not only for ones own project, but also for the future of participant observation.

Differing from questionnaire surveys, ethnography relies on a few key informants rather than a representative sample. Anthropologists look for informants that are capable of providing adequate information about the culture, by choosing good informants and by asking them things they know about. Benard offers an approach, which was first implemented by Poggie in 1972. Poggie asked knowledgeable informants questions about the communities and compared the answers with high quality social surveys. The higher the correlation, the more qualified the informants. Another way to select key informants was discovered by Romney in 1986. Informants who agree with one another about some items of cultural knowledge know more about the domain those items belong to than do informants who disagree with each other. In order to choose general ethnographic informants, anthropologists us a general set of about 40 questions, answers which would be know by competent members of a culture.

Benard makes an interesting statement about key informants: ?I have consciously found the best informants to be people who are cynical of their own culture?..They are always observant, reflective, and articulate.?

Definitions from other authors and Anthropologists:

- Kluckhohn (1940): “as a conscious and systematic sharing, in so far as circumstances permit, in the life-activities and, on occasion, in the interests and affects of a group of persons.” – Zelditch (1962): “participant observer employ three methods not one” of sole direct and/or participant observation: Participant observation to describe incidents, informant interviewing (to learn institutionalized norms and statuses), and details or sampling (to document frequency data). It is not a technique, which can be used in isolation from other research methods and procedures. It is an approach with a common core of appropriate methods inherent in all forms of participant observation.

- Whyte (1979): ” Participant observer as a researcher who participates in social activities with the subjects of study over an extended period of time.”

- Gosling, L with Edwards, M. (1995): Toolkits: A Practical Guide to Assessment, Monitoring, Review and Evaluation. ?Participant Observation: As part of PRA exercise, participant observation used to gain insight into daily activities of children can be gained by accompanying them on their tasks, or watching them at places where they gather at times of day.?

- Pratt & Loizos (1992): ?Participant observation involves the researcher becoming a resident in the community.?

Participant observation is a method of study in which outsiders immerse themselves in the village life and observe or participate in daily activities.

It is probably misleading to regard participant observation as a single method. Rather, in common expression, it refers to a characteristic blend or combination of methods and techniques that is employed in studying certain types of subject matter: primitive societies, deviant subcultures, complex organizations (such as hospitals, unions, and corporations), social movements, communities, and informal groups (such as gangs and factory worker groups). This blend of techniques involves some amount of social interaction in the field with the subjects of the study, some direct observation of relevant events, some formal and a great deal of informal interviewing, some systematic counting, some collection of documents and artifacts, and open-ended in the direction the study takes.

The primary purpose of participant observation is to collect, understand, and validate field data. It involves intense social interaction with people in their own setting that can lead to rewarding cooperation.

The following approach, which was already discussed in detail by Bernard, is usually used to conduct this project:

?Plan fieldwork: draw up a research framework, select and contact a community, get permission for a village stay. Inform the community how long you intend to stay.

?Move into the village and establish rapport.

?Take interest in the culture, daily life, and special events. Learn through observation and by talking to people.

?Eat what the people eat and live as they live. Help in daily activities and participate in special events.

?Take mental notes when with people. Transcribe mental notes when alone. Check notes regularly. Look for entries that need clarification or follow-up.

?Depart in a way that is appropriate to the culture of the study community.

Anthropologists suggest that participant observation helps learn and understand Indigenous Knowledge, its advantages and problems, from the community’s perspective. I would challenge to a certain degree as the report is still presented out of the anthropologists view, and does not solely represent the community.

Participant observation is commonly combined with other methods such as interviews, mapping, ranking, etc. Unless the participant observer is already familiar with the local language and culture, it might take several months for this method to yield meaningful insights.

Characteristics:

- Non-standardized: Research can be frequently redirected on the basis of data coming in from the field. Changes in direction can be made to focus more directly on assembling data for emerging hypotheses. – Makes effective use of the relationships the researcher establishes with informants in the field for drawing out data where there needs to be a mutual trust. (Fringe societies, gangs…)

Advantages:

?Researchers can reformulate the problem as the research continues. A preset hypothesis often limits the value of the data collected.

?Because of the close contact with the field situation, the researcher is better able to avoid misleading or meaningless questions.

?Impressions are often more reliable for classifying respondents than numbers.

?Observation usually uses the most experienced and qualified talent. A survey director is usually several steps removed from the data-gathering process.

?The pace of research and interaction can be set at an appropriate pace. (Finding out what is taboo…)

?Taking part in the events he or she is observing, describing, and analyzing, the anthropologist gains insights beyond any gained from more distant description and surveys.

?Some behaviors and beliefs can only be understood in more intimate, day to day relationships or by just being there when things happen.

?Traditional social science research techniques that rely on Census Bureau statistics or random sample neighborhood surveys cannot access with any degree of accuracy the people who survive in the underground economy – and much less those who sell or take illegal drugs. The participant-observation techniques developed primarily by cultural anthropologists since the 1920s are better suited than exclusively quantitative methodologies for documenting the lives of people who live on the margins of a society that is hostile to them.

?The observer can generally recognize motives more validly by comparing actions with stated ideals.

?If an area is unclear, the researcher can select more informants at a later time.

?Researcher can generally get at “depth material” that is lacking in surveys.

?Information initially deemed to be irrelevant may become extremely valuable as a researcher’s perspective changes.

?Allow informants to describe the situation as they see it. The field worker frequently wants his/her informants to talk about what they want to talk about; the survey researcher has to get them to talk about what he or she wants them to talk about.

?Difficult to quantify variables are probably less distorted by observation than by trying to operationalize them to fit a quantifiable survey.

?Surveys are generally more expensive than field observation.

?Reliance on first-hand information, high face validity of data, and reliance on relatively simple and inexpensive methods.

Disadvantages:

?Participant observation is subjective as one describes the experience of ones own view. The view is composed of the observers? background, education, family, culture, personality, values, beliefs, lifestyle, etc. The conditions for a truly objective participant observation are unrealistic.

?The anthropologist chooses the informants. Despite suggested selection methods, there is always still some subjectivity involved in the selection process.

?Furthermore, if a researcher becomes overly immersed in the group’s culture and social activities, his/her ability to effectively interpret the group’s behavior may become compromised by an eagerness to become involved in the group dynamic.

?Many observers do not have the time to conduct a research for the amount of time necessary to product reliable and accurate data. Some cultures do not reveal insights that could be crucial until a person is truly integrated in the culture.

?By selecting informants that agree on common facts, the researcher ignores the fact that there might be an oppression from telling the truth. (Women that are extremely restrained from their freedom, might be scared to say so and most people, especially the men, agree that the women are happy the way it is).

?Locations that are new and would bring much knowledge to anthropology may only be visited by one researcher, which does not provide us with representative and reliable data.

?Participant observation is never produced by the actual natives and therefore, it is always delivered out of the perception, and with the interpretation of observer.

?Because of the non-standardized way data is collected, it is not generally useful for statistical analysis or study repetition.

?One cannot generalize beyond the population studied.

?Likelihood of bias. Since the direction the investigation takes frequently changes on the basis of the emerging data, there is greater danger that the research worker will guide the inquiry in accordance with wrong impressions received from former informants. The first hunch or hypothesis may lead the researcher to confirm those notions and direct him or her away from data that would point the other way.

?Researchers do not really know if they are dealing with a representative population.

?Outside influence on the informants. It may be difficult to determine if an informant is acting in a certain way due to the presence of an outsider. The observer is part of the context being observed. He/she modifies, and is influenced by these circumstances.

?This data-gathering technique is and increased threat to the objectivity of the researcher, unsystematic gathering of data, and reliance on subjective measurement.

?The objectivity issue. Participation is a form of investment of time, energy, and self, and as such it raises obvious questions of possible bias. However, defenders of participant observation find greater bias in allegedly neutral instruments such as survey questionnaires. These, they say, involve the imposition of an externally conceived “scientific” measuring device (the questionnaire) on individuals who do not perceive reality according to that external conception (Bruyn, 1966).

Participant Observation is one of the most common methods for qualitative data collection; participant observation is also one of the most demanding. It requires that the researcher become a participant in the culture or context being observed. The literature on participant observation discusses how to enter the context, the role of the researcher as a participant, the collection and storage of field notes, and the analysis of field data. Participant observation often requires months or years of intensive work because the researcher needs to become accepted as a natural part of the culture in order to assure that the observations are of the natural phenomenon. Participant observation offers many positive aspects in research and it has already overcome many disadvantages of prior research methods. However, we always need to keep in mind that participant observation is conducted by a person, an individual with many character traits that are included in the result of the project.

Traditional Research Methods: Participant Observation

What does Participant Observation bring to research?

H. Russell Bernard?s perspective on Participant Observation:

H. Russell Bernard describes participant observation as being the foundation of anthropological research, yet the well-defined methodological component of the discipline. The steps involved are establishing rapport in a new community, learning to act so that people go about their business as usual, and removing oneself from the everyday cultural immersion in order to intellectualize what one has learned, to put it into perspective, and write about it accordingly.

There is a fine line between participant observation and field research, although the results of both show distinct differences. Bernard proposes to think of participant observation independently of time. He further states that it is the only method that can truly yield understanding of social change, through very long-term participant observation over several decades. At the same time, participant observation can take place in a period of a few days, assuming that one speaks the native language, and is already familiar with the nuances of etiquette from previous experience. Bernard sites an example of his experience at the Laundromats during his college life.

Bernard defines participant observation as a strategy, rather than a method; a strategy that facilitates qualitative as well as quantitative data collection. Participant observation reduces the reactivity factor since the observer becomes less noticeable after a while. Lower reactivity increases the validity of the data. It also helps form sensible questions in the native language, which would never be possible from a remote location and without the intense knowledge of the culture. Participant observation allows one to make strong statements about cultural facts, as one understands the meaning of the observation, instead of merrily citing acquired data. Without knowing about some local customs and the expression for such, certain facts can never be revealed.

The proper skill set of a participant observer, consists of several attributes, not ignoring the general experience in the field. A researcher should become the instrument of both data collection and its analysis through ones own experience. Following are critical skills one should develop for success in participant observation:

?Learning the language so one can understand the observation and also ask questions that will clarify as well as further the research

?Building memory so one can accurately report the observation

?Maintaining Naivet?, through the genius willingness to learn

?Building writing skills so that field notes can be converted to published work

Entering the field:

Bernard considers the entry into the fieldwork as the most difficult part of participant observation. There are several ways to address this challenge:

?Choose a site that is easy to enter (provides easy access to data)

?Bring as much documentation about oneself and the project as possible

?Utilize all help possible (friends, connections, letters of recommendation, etc.)

?Be prepared for questions, show honesty and consistency

?Getting to know the physical and social layout of the field site.

Field research literature, work experience, and conversations with experienced researchers have brought Bernard to a finding on the different stages of Participant Observation:

oInitial contact

oShock

oDiscovering the obvious

oThe break

oFocusing

oExhaustion, the second break, and frantic activity

oLeaving

During the initial contact period, many anthropologists experience an extreme excitement as move into a new culture. Bernard states that cultural anthropologists are attracted to living in a new culture. However, there have been cases when the opposite occurred, usually caused by the effect of culture shock.

Almost all anthropologists report a form of depression and shock soon after their initial contact period. One form reveals itself in the anxiety to about their ability to collect good data. An good response, Bernard suggests, is to be highly task oriented, making maps, taking censuses, doing household inventories, collecting genealogies, and so forth. One can also carry out clinical, methodological field notes about feelings and responses in doing participant observation fieldwork. Another common experience is the culture shock. One focuses on little annoyances and is frustrated with everything around oneself as it is different from ones own culture. Bernard warns that one needs to be prepared for the challenge to remain a dispassionate observer, while another problem often sets in, the lack of privacy.

In the third stage, discovering the obvious, anthropologists experience the feeling that the informants are finally letting them into the core of their culture. That information, however, later turns out to be commonplace. At this stage, anthropologists feel like they belong and the ?village? appears almost like a home.

The break usually occurs after three to four months. It is an important opportunity to get some physical and emotional distance from the field site. The anthropologist has a change to reflect on the research done so far, on the initial goal, and plan the remaining steps for the visit. By returning to the community, one also demonstrates a genuine interest in it and establishes more trust with the informants.

The break allows for the fifth stage: focusing. The break allowed for a reflection and preparation that can now be applied for the focusing stage.

The sixth stage consists out of exhaustion, a second break, and frantic activity. The exhaustion sets in as one feels an embarrassment to keep asking the informants questions and one believes that the informants do not have any more information. As cultural knowledge is enormous and can barely be acquired during a few years, this feeling is a big misconception. At that point a second break is useful as it allows reflecting on that and realizing how much there is still to find. The break, however, causes the frantic activity, as one panics about how little time is left with so much work to accomplish.

Leaving the field in a genuine and positive manner is very important, not only for ones own project, but also for the future of participant observation.

Differing from questionnaire surveys, ethnography relies on a few key informants rather than a representative sample. Anthropologists look for informants that are capable of providing adequate information about the culture, by choosing good informants and by asking them things they know about. Benard offers an approach, which was first implemented by Poggie in 1972. Poggie asked knowledgeable informants questions about the communities and compared the answers with high quality social surveys. The higher the correlation, the more qualified the informants. Another way to select key informants was discovered by Romney in 1986. Informants who agree with one another about some items of cultural knowledge know more about the domain those items belong to than do informants who disagree with each other. In order to choose general ethnographic informants, anthropologists us a general set of about 40 questions, answers which would be know by competent members of a culture.

Benard makes an interesting statement about key informants: ?I have consciously found the best informants to be people who are cynical of their own culture?..They are always observant, reflective, and articulate.?

Definitions from other authors and Anthropologists:

- Kluckhohn (1940): “as a conscious and systematic sharing, in so far as circumstances permit, in the life-activities and, on occasion, in the interests and affects of a group of persons.” – Zelditch (1962): “participant observer employ three methods not one” of sole direct and/or participant observation: Participant observation to describe incidents, informant interviewing (to learn institutionalized norms and statuses), and details or sampling (to document frequency data). It is not a technique, which can be used in isolation from other research methods and procedures. It is an approach with a common core of appropriate methods inherent in all forms of participant observation.

- Whyte (1979): ” Participant observer as a researcher who participates in social activities with the subjects of study over an extended period of time.”

- Gosling, L with Edwards, M. (1995): Toolkits: A Practical Guide to Assessment, Monitoring, Review and Evaluation. ?Participant Observation: As part of PRA exercise, participant observation used to gain insight into daily activities of children can be gained by accompanying them on their tasks, or watching them at places where they gather at times of day.?

- Pratt & Loizos (1992): ?Participant observation involves the researcher becoming a resident in the community.?

Participant observation is a method of study in which outsiders immerse themselves in the village life and observe or participate in daily activities.

It is probably misleading to regard participant observation as a single method. Rather, in common expression, it refers to a characteristic blend or combination of methods and techniques that is employed in studying certain types of subject matter: primitive societies, deviant subcultures, complex organizations (such as hospitals, unions, and corporations), social movements, communities, and informal groups (such as gangs and factory worker groups). This blend of techniques involves some amount of social interaction in the field with the subjects of the study, some direct observation of relevant events, some formal and a great deal of informal interviewing, some systematic counting, some collection of documents and artifacts, and open-ended in the direction the study takes.

The primary purpose of participant observation is to collect, understand, and validate field data. It involves intense social interaction with people in their own setting that can lead to rewarding cooperation.

The following approach, which was already discussed in detail by Bernard, is usually used to conduct this project:

?Plan fieldwork: draw up a research framework, select and contact a community, get permission for a village stay. Inform the community how long you intend to stay.

?Move into the village and establish rapport.

?Take interest in the culture, daily life, and special events. Learn through observation and by talking to people.

?Eat what the people eat and live as they live. Help in daily activities and participate in special events.

?Take mental notes when with people. Transcribe mental notes when alone. Check notes regularly. Look for entries that need clarification or follow-up.

?Depart in a way that is appropriate to the culture of the study community.

Anthropologists suggest that participant observation helps learn and understand Indigenous Knowledge, its advantages and problems, from the community’s perspective. I would challenge to a certain degree as the report is still presented out of the anthropologists view, and does not solely represent the community.

Participant observation is commonly combined with other methods such as interviews, mapping, ranking, etc. Unless the participant observer is already familiar with the local language and culture, it might take several months for this method to yield meaningful insights.

Characteristics:

- Non-standardized: Research can be frequently redirected on the basis of data coming in from the field. Changes in direction can be made to focus more directly on assembling data for emerging hypotheses. – Makes effective use of the relationships the researcher establishes with informants in the field for drawing out data where there needs to be a mutual trust. (Fringe societies, gangs…)

Advantages:

?Researchers can reformulate the problem as the research continues. A preset hypothesis often limits the value of the data collected.

?Because of the close contact with the field situation, the researcher is better able to avoid misleading or meaningless questions.

?Impressions are often more reliable for classifying respondents than numbers.

?Observation usually uses the most experienced and qualified talent. A survey director is usually several steps removed from the data-gathering process.

?The pace of research and interaction can be set at an appropriate pace. (Finding out what is taboo…)

?Taking part in the events he or she is observing, describing, and analyzing, the anthropologist gains insights beyond any gained from more distant description and surveys.

?Some behaviors and beliefs can only be understood in more intimate, day to day relationships or by just being there when things happen.

?Traditional social science research techniques that rely on Census Bureau statistics or random sample neighborhood surveys cannot access with any degree of accuracy the people who survive in the underground economy – and much less those who sell or take illegal drugs. The participant-observation techniques developed primarily by cultural anthropologists since the 1920s are better suited than exclusively quantitative methodologies for documenting the lives of people who live on the margins of a society that is hostile to them.

?The observer can generally recognize motives more validly by comparing actions with stated ideals.

?If an area is unclear, the researcher can select more informants at a later time.

?Researcher can generally get at “depth material” that is lacking in surveys.

?Information initially deemed to be irrelevant may become extremely valuable as a researcher’s perspective changes.

?Allow informants to describe the situation as they see it. The field worker frequently wants his/her informants to talk about what they want to talk about; the survey researcher has to get them to talk about what he or she wants them to talk about.

?Difficult to quantify variables are probably less distorted by observation than by trying to operationalize them to fit a quantifiable survey.

?Surveys are generally more expensive than field observation.

?Reliance on first-hand information, high face validity of data, and reliance on relatively simple and inexpensive methods.

Disadvantages:

?Participant observation is subjective as one describes the experience of ones own view. The view is composed of the observers? background, education, family, culture, personality, values, beliefs, lifestyle, etc. The conditions for a truly objective participant observation are unrealistic.

?The anthropologist chooses the informants. Despite suggested selection methods, there is always still some subjectivity involved in the selection process.

?Furthermore, if a researcher becomes overly immersed in the group’s culture and social activities, his/her ability to effectively interpret the group’s behavior may become compromised by an eagerness to become involved in the group dynamic.

?Many observers do not have the time to conduct a research for the amount of time necessary to product reliable and accurate data. Some cultures do not reveal insights that could be crucial until a person is truly integrated in the culture.

?By selecting informants that agree on common facts, the researcher ignores the fact that there might be an oppression from telling the truth. (Women that are extremely restrained from their freedom, might be scared to say so and most people, especially the men, agree that the women are happy the way it is).

?Locations that are new and would bring much knowledge to anthropology may only be visited by one researcher, which does not provide us with representative and reliable data.

?Participant observation is never produced by the actual natives and therefore, it is always delivered out of the perception, and with the interpretation of observer.

?Because of the non-standardized way data is collected, it is not generally useful for statistical analysis or study repetition.

?One cannot generalize beyond the population studied.

?Likelihood of bias. Since the direction the investigation takes frequently changes on the basis of the emerging data, there is greater danger that the research worker will guide the inquiry in accordance with wrong impressions received from former informants. The first hunch or hypothesis may lead the researcher to confirm those notions and direct him or her away from data that would point the other way.

?Researchers do not really know if they are dealing with a representative population.

?Outside influence on the informants. It may be difficult to determine if an informant is acting in a certain way due to the presence of an outsider. The observer is part of the context being observed. He/she modifies, and is influenced by these circumstances.

?This data-gathering technique is and increased threat to the objectivity of the researcher, unsystematic gathering of data, and reliance on subjective measurement.

?The objectivity issue. Participation is a form of investment of time, energy, and self, and as such it raises obvious questions of possible bias. However, defenders of participant observation find greater bias in allegedly neutral instruments such as survey questionnaires. These, they say, involve the imposition of an externally conceived “scientific” measuring device (the questionnaire) on individuals who do not perceive reality according to that external conception (Bruyn, 1966).

Participant Observation is one of the most common methods for qualitative data collection; participant observation is also one of the most demanding. It requires that the researcher become a participant in the culture or context being observed. The literature on participant observation discusses how to enter the context, the role of the researcher as a participant, the collection and storage of field notes, and the analysis of field data. Participant observation often requires months or years of intensive work because the researcher needs to become accepted as a natural part of the culture in order to assure that the observations are of the natural phenomenon. Participant observation offers many positive aspects in research and it has already overcome many disadvantages of prior research methods. However, we always need to keep in mind that participant observation is conducted by a person, an individual with many character traits that are included in the result of the project.

?Issues in Participant Observation: A Text and Reader. Ed. George McCall and J.L. Simmons. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1969.

?Qualitative research in information management / [edited by] Jack D. Glazier and Ronald R. Powell. Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1992.

?Research Methods In Cultural Anthropology. H. Russell Bernard. Sage Publications, 1989.

?The human perspective in sociology: The methodology of participant observations. Bruyn Severyn. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1966.