Participant Observation by James P. Spradley

By James P. Spradley

This article is a stick with as much as Spradley's past ethographic study guide, The Ethnographic Interview, and publications scholars throughout the means of player commentary to investigate ethnography and tradition. Spradley additionally teaches scholars how one can research the information they acquire, and write an ethnography. The appendices contain examine questions and writing projects.

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This was not merely a single person moving through different situations, but an organized group of people who shared a network of social situations. We can represent a set of linked social situations that form a network by the diagram in Figure 8. 3. Social Situations with Similar Activities. Social situations can become linked for the investigator in a third way: through the similarity in activities. Actors: The Jesus People FIGURE 8. 44 A Network of Social Situations LOCATING A SOCIAL SITUATION As your research progresses, you may want to expand it by identifying a single kind of activity (for example, swimming, waiting in line, buying used cars), then finding other places to observe similar activities.

He needs to know which questions are being taken for granted because they are what "everybody knows" without thinking .... Thus the task of the ethnographer is to discover questions that seek the relationships among entities that are conceptually meaningful to the people under investigation (1964: 144). A major feature of the D. R. S. Method as it is developed in the following chapters will be to show you how to discover questions in the social situation you study. As you go through the ethnographic research cycle you will discover new questions to ask; these will guide your data collection.

In this step we will examine the nature of social situations and several important criteria for making the best initial selection. _ -:zc SOCIAL SITUATIONS Every social situation can be identified by three primary elements: a place, actors, and activities. In doing participant observation you will locate yourself in some place; you will watch actors of one sort or another and become involved with them; you will observe and participate in ac- 39 THE DEVELOPMENTAL RESEARCH SEQUENCE tivities. These primary elements do not exhaust the social and cultural meaning of social situations, but they do serve as a springboard into understanding them.

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