In the Field

ISBN 13: 9780275933173

In the Field

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9780275933173: In the Field

This volume brings together personal accounts by a group of noted ethnographic researchers. An ideal supplemental text for methods courses, In the Field is designed to give students a sense of what it is actually like to conduct ethnographic research, especially participant observation. As the selections show, field researchers often become deeply involved in the lives of the people they study and are at times forced into a reexamination of their own values. By learning how social scientists conduct research under field conditions and how they feel while they are doing it, students will be better prepared to carry out successful field research projects of their own.

Divided into four parts, the book begins with several readings that explore the confusing and frustrating period every field researcher goes through while trying to gain the acceptance of the people under study. In the second section, Building Relationships, the contributors show how ethnographic researchers often develop subtle, complex relationships with their informants. These selections also illustrate the impact of differences in race, gender, and class between the researcher and his or her subject. The next group of readings deal with a problem often encountered in the field: How can ethnographic researchers maintain objectivity in the face of deepening involvement in their subjects' lives? In the final section, the researchers ask some searching questions about the role of the observer. Taken together, these readings offer a new window onto the field research experience that will be invaluable not only for those just beginning their careers but also for professional researchers who seek inspiration and encouragement from others with similar experiences.

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Book Description:

These engaging accounts by masters of field research illustrate the synthesis of passionate involvement and objective analysis. An informative and inspiring collection for students and professional social scientists.

Cynthia Fuchs Epstein

Distinguished Professor of Sociology

City University of New York

About the Author:

CAROLYN D. SMITH is a writer and editorial consultant specializing in educational materials in the social sciences.

WILLIAM KORNBLUM is Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center and the author of Blue Collar Community, Growing Up Poor (with Terry Williams), and textbooks in sociology and social problems.

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Carolyn D. Smith
Published by Praeger Pub (1989)
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