Participant observation: a methodology for human studies

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Sage Publications, Feb 1, 1989 - Social Science - 133 pages
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"Danny L. Jorgensen's book certainly provides a good handbook to supplement the more general comments on participant observation found in other texts. . . . I also appreciate Jorgensen's attention to note taking and analysis--means of making ethnographic participant-observation less informal and more systematic. His approach dovetails nicely with grounded theory, which I have found useful in my work and as a teaching tool to unify the theory and methods components of the course I teach." --Benita J. Howell, University of Tennessee "Primarily oriented to the reader unfamiliar with its terrain. Danny L. Jorgensen takes a stance without being overly polemical, and he is to be congratulated for his clear writing, excellent use of examples, and comprehensive treatment of this complex process." --Contemporary Sociology "A highly readable and impressive handbook on a research methodology that is attracting greater interest in foreign language education. . . . The organization of Participant Organization enhances its overall readability." --The Modern Language Journal "[This volume goes a long way toward meeting the series' goal of providing accessible, current, theoretically grounded discussions of applied research techniques. . . . This volume provides useable, interesting, fresh, and provocative illustrations of the vitality of contemporary qualitative research methods." --Teaching Sociology "Provides practical advice on dealing with gatekeepers, developing field relationships and observing and gathering data in natural settings. Psychology students who are working in the community will find this volume of particular interest. "A well-presented and captivating book. It is designed for students and academics who have had no previous experience with participant observation. . . . Provide[s] the foundation for actually conducting one's first participant observational research. Its aim is achieved through a carefully organized text which discusses the benefits and limitations of this type of research." --British Journal of Psychology "A valuable and welcome addition to a growing literature on the processes and problematics of studying human lived experience. . . . Building on his own experiences as a participant observer and a wealth of ethnographic literature, Danny L. Jorgensen has produced a balanced, thoughtful, and clearly written account of field research practices. . . . Jorgensen provides a very cogent, open, and informative statement on the ways in which scholars might frame participant-observation research and the obstacles and dilemmas they may expect to encounter on route. "While students may benefit from the clear presentation and the honest, open manner in which this statement is developed, they will also gain some valuable insider viewpoints into the ethnographic literature. Instructors will appreciate the compact (and inexpensive) format, and will likely consider it for a variety of methods courses. . . . Experienced researchers will particularly acknowledge the work that Jorgensen has put into this statement. . . . This is indeed a very fine little volume." --The Canadian Journal of Sociology What is participant observation and how is it used? This practical volume offers a unique "how to" guide for conducting participant observation research. After defining participant observation and introducing the reader to its basic principles, methodologies, and strategies, this highly readable volume provides step by step guidelines for defining the research problem, identifying objects and subjects of study, outlining data collection problems, recording and processing data, data analysis and interpretation, and communicating findings. Participant Observation is appropriate for students and professionals without previous experience with or training in this form of research who desire to utilize this method (or certain aspects of it) for applied research.

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The Process of Defining a Problem
Gaining Entree to a Setting

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About the author (1989)

Dr. Jorgensen is a sociologist of religion, a Professor of Religious Studies, and a former Director of Graduate Studies at USF.  He is a series editor for Universities of South Florida-Rochester-St. Louis Studies in Religion and Social Order: Studies of Latter Day Saint Religion (Scholar Press).  He has edited a volume entitled Religion and the Challenge of Modernity: The Reogranized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the United States Today for this series.  He has also published in the American Journal of Sociology, Sociological Quarterly, Urban Life (Journal of Contemporary Ethnography), Symbolic Interaction, Deviant Behavior, Kansas History, Annals of Iowa, Journal of Mormon History, Dialogue, John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, Nauvoo Journal, and Nova Religio.

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