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Systematic Self-Observation
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Systematic Self-Observation
A Method for Researching the Hidden and Elusive Features of Everyday Social Life


Volume: 49

December 2001 | 80 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Systematic self-observation (SSO) is a valuable research method used by social scientists to gather information about those social actions that are hidden, restricted or subjective. The advantage of using self-observation over another research method, such as interviewing, for these types of actions is that the observer in SSO is the same as the obervee. This is the only way one can successfully measure thoughts, emotions and other criteria that are not always openly displayed. The authors provide a practical explanation and instruction to carrying out an systematic self-observation study. They include case studies of four aspects of hidden or elusive everyday social actions: lying, telling secrets, withholding compliments and feeling envy.

 
Acknowledgments
 
Series Editors' Introduction
H. Schwartz
Foreword
 
1. Introducing Systematic Self-Observation
A Brief Description of Systematic Self-Observation

 
The Theoretical and Methodological Bases for Systematic Self-Observation

 
A Brief Review of Social Science Endeavors at Self-Observation

 
How Systematic Self-Observation Contrasts With the Other Self-Observation Methods

 
 
2. Implementing Systematic Self-Observation
Choosing the Subject Matter for Study

 
Formulating the Topic

 
Recruiting Informants

 
Guiding Informants to Be Scientific Observers

 
Teaching Informants How to Observe

 
Teaching Informants How to Report Self-Observations

 
Preparing Informants With Training Exercises

 
Ethical Considerations

 
Feedback on Systematic Self-Observation

 
 
3. A Critical Evaluation of Systematic Self-Observation
Problems in Choosing the Informants

 
Problems in Framing and Delivering the Instructions

 
Problems in Observing the Phenomenon

 
Problems in Recallign and Reporting the Phenomenon

 
Strengths of the Systematic Self-Observation Method

 
 
4. Four Studies Generated With Systematic Self-Observation
Case Study 1: Telling Lies in Everoyday Life

 
Case Study 2: The Micropolitics of the Secrets Told in Everyday Life

 
Case Study 3: Withholding of Compliments and the Covert Management of Disaffiliation

 
Case Study 4: Envy in the Social Comparisons of Everyday Life

 
Analytic Insights Generated by These Systematic Self-Observation Studies

 
 
5. Other Applications of Systematic Self-Observation
Researchable Systematic Self-Observation Topics

 
Systematic Self Observation as Redagogy

 
Using Systematic Self-Observation for Therapy

 
Self-Observation and Self/Spiritual Development Practices

 
 
Notes
 
References
 
About the Authors

A great guide for students who are thinking of methods to gather data from research participants. it bases it's conceptualization in symbolic interactionism and ethnomethodology which makes a very interesting micro research into everyday experience

Ms Irena Loveikaite
Department of Applied Arts, Waterford Institute of Technology
May 18, 2016

The question regarding research for me has always been, How much of our own self do we bring with us on the journey? Reflexive practise and an development of our own self is an integral part of the research process.
The use of the case study approach enhanced what was an intricate read. I will be recommending this text to all students who aim to undertake qualitative research. I feel an awareness of the possibility of these phenomena occurring in themselves may help them become aware of these processes occurring in others

Mr Mark Timoney
Humanities , Sligo Institute of Technology
May 28, 2012

Fascinating, concise, thought provoking and practical

Dr Angus Bancroft
Department of Sociology, Edinburgh University
October 7, 2011

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