Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://hdl.handle.net/2440/93497
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Type: Book chapter
Title: Participant Observation as Ethnography or Ethnography as Participant Observation in Organizational Research
Author: Sandiford, P.J.
Citation: The Palgrave Handbook of Research Design in Business and Management, 2015, pp.411-443
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US
Publisher Place: New York
Issue Date: 2015
ISBN: 1137379928
9781137379924
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Peter John Sandiford
Abstract: There is a strong tradition of observational research in most areas of the social sciences, especially in Anthropology and Sociology. However, in business and management research observation is often seen as a poor relative to questionnaire surveys and qualitative interviewing. This chapter discusses the use of observational techniques especially for less experienced researchers planning their first major investigation, exploring the difference between participant and non-participant approaches, different techniques of data collection, recording and analysis. Rather than seeking to provide a full guide to conducting participant observation, an impractical task in a single chapter, this offering discusses some of the key issues facing researchers in Business and Management who choose to conduct this sort of research, exploring different approaches to participant observation and some of the ethical and practical challenges associated with the collection and analysis of observational data. The chapter draws on the author’s experience of conducting participant observation in organizations with examples of both employee (Sandiford and Seymour, 2002; Seymour and Sandiford, 2013) and customer perspectives (Sandiford and Divers, 2011). It will also draw from ‘classic’ observational studies such as Mars and Nicod (1984) and more recent examples such as Watson and Watson (2012).
Keywords: Research method; ideology; philosophy; data collection; interpretative
Rights: Copyright © Kenneth D. Strang 2015
DOI: 10.1057/9781137484956_22
Published version: http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/the-palgrave-handbook-of-research-design-in-business-and-management-kenneth-d-strang/?K=9781137379924
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