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Learning from the Field

Learning from the Field
A Guide from Experience

December 1984 | 296 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
"Other field researchers, who usually convey their craft only through one-on-one apprenticeships, should follow Whyte's lead and try to create their own vicarious apprenticeships through candid backstage accounts of their judgment calls in the field. . . . This book gives seasoned investigators an excuse to rethink what they take for granted and to see, step-by-step, how their practice compares with that of another seasoned person. Most people will welcome the chance to do this because of a final characteristic in this book, its even-handed tone." --Journal of Contemporary Ethnography "Useful for a better understanding of the character and promise of ethnographic research." --Journal of Communication "Goes beyond statements of principles to give a realistic picture of problems encountered by the field researcher." --Bulletin de Methodologie Sociologique A highly regarded field researcher tells how he has plied his craft for the past 50 years. William Foote Whyte, in collaboration with his wife, Kathleen, describes the successes--and failures--he has had in studying street corner society in Boston, oil companies in Oklahoma and Venezuela, restaurants in Chicago, worker cooperatives in Spain, factories in New York State, and villages in Peru. With the goal of taking readers into the field with him, Whyte discusses and dissects his chief tools--participant observation and the semistructured interview. He also explains how to evaluate and analyze field data, why the use of local history in social research is valuable, and the ethics of fieldwork. Whyte focuses on four general problems that have plagued his career as a researcher:

Purpose and Focus of this Book
Participant Observation
Rationale and Roles

Planning the Project and Entering the Field
Field Relations
Observational Methods
Interviewing Strategy and Tactics
Recording, Indexing and Evaluating Interview Data
Integrating Methods in Team Research
Using History in Social Research
Types of Applied Social Research
Ethics in Field Research and Publication
Focusing the Study and Analyzing the Data
From Data Analysis to Reshaping Conceptual Schemes
Scheme and Styles of Social Research

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ISBN: 9780803933187