The original Powerpoint is at this link: the text from the PP follows:
Bailey’s Guide to Qualitative Field Research, Chapters 5-6 [Dena]
Primary purpose of using probability sampling is to be able to
statically generalize the results
Primarily associated with quantitative work
Key: purposeful sampling is to select cases for systematic
study that are information rich
Misconception = field researchers rely on convenience
sampling The OPPOSITE is true—Convenience Sampling is
weak and should be avoided
Size of sample—use Goldilocks—not too small or large
Good starting point is 20—keep adding cases until you have at least 5
new cases that fail to add anything new
Gatekeepers (those who gain or deny access)
Johnson: progressive series of negotiations rather than a oneshot
Give explanations to gatekeeper—greatly increases chance of
You want to understand the setting, not judge
Be prepared to do it again with “lesser” gatekeepers
Arrival in the Field
Feeling out of place or having a hard time is to be expected
However, early interactions are the groundwork for the “real”
Sometimes one who saves is an insider and may act as a
Valuable, but at a cost
They have their own perspectives and agenda that can influence
the way they see, think, and feel.
Do not take their perspective as a representation of the group as a whole
May impede rather than help
May not be well respected and may keep others from giving entrée
See Ch. 2
Gain permission from gatekeepers
Impossible to inform everyone who enters study setting
Ex. Van Maanen’s study where resident thought he was a plain clothes
Some Institutional Review Boards require you to explain your informed
consent procedures for both the regular participants and also for those
who enter the setting unknowingly
Rapport is important, helps you gain info. you might not
Trust is not unidirectional—strive for trusting relationships
Lays the foundation for productive and satifying working
Same skills as making friends
q RAPPORT Easier to lose than it is to gain in the first place.
Use multiple methods for data collection
Collect data from divergent views
Observe members of residents
Interview members of residents
Interview authorizes from HUD
Analyses HUD documents
CAUTION against rejection of data due to ID’ed
Inconsistencies might lead to more insite
(The fourth component of field research)
Observation is a major form of data collection
Seeing with one’s own eyes—determine what is important
1. Will the observations be overt or covert?
2. Will the researcher be a participant or only an observer?
3. Where and when will observations occur?
4. Will observations be structured or unstructured?
5. What will be observed?
The answers to these questions might change
during the time in the field.
Covert or Overt
Covert has ethical concerns connected
Therefore, the reading only focused on overt.
Participating While Observing
Participate or merely observe, or both
Participant observer takes part in daily events while
Observers only as it says!
The researcher who engages in an ethnographic study in
more likely to participate
Researchers should make preliminary decisions about role,
without worrying about the label of participant or observer
Structured and Unstructured
Researcher must decide if observations will be structured,
unstructured or a combo of both
Structured usually has a guide
People and events to be observed
Focus and location determined
Important impromptu events are not ignored, by
predetermined targets are concentrated on
Observations are not haphazard, but flexible
Still have predetermined focus
Dynamics in setting may change dramatically
Focus of Observations
What should be observed?
Some of the previous features may require particpation,
while others require only observation
Besides what happens, descriptions need to be included—
how things change should be illustrated
What you see and cannot see (ie temperature) should be
Use of all senses should be utilized
The focus may change over time, becoming more selective
When you enter a setting, physical surrounding should be the
first goal of focus
Nearly all features of a individual is
Cultural symbols (any social significance)
What is said through body language
When the action stops, observations should not stop, take a
moment to notice what isn’t happening. Examples provided:
a study of suburban community, notes who is not working in
their yard on Saturday morning, it is as important as who is.
Observe the foreground and the background too—like a
good play, the focus and the lighting changes—not watching
the whole picture focuses only on high-status members.
Questions for Consideration
Please respond to two.
1. How would you genuinely answer questions/concerns to gain entrée?
2. If you are going to conduct an observation for our class, will you be an active
participant observer, observer, or combination of both? Why?
3. How could a covert observation be unethical?
4. Explain the procedures you would provide on an IRB to protect unknowing
5. Provide a brief description of a physical environment in which you might
conduct an observation. Remember to use the senses and to describe cultural
symbols and actions not observed that may be important.