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By Kimberly Kempf-Leonard

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Extra resources for Encyclopedia of Social Measurement (F-O)

Example text

In some cases, a role will exist in the field that can be appropriated for this purpose—such as an educational researcher taking on the role of teacher’s aide. In other settings, roles need to be created or improvised, as in improvisation of the ‘‘buddy-researcher’’ role in fieldwork with the homeless. The main goal is to facilitate effective data collection, which may require different fieldwork roles in different settings. Team field research offers advantages in the range of fieldwork roles (including multiple roles within the same setting) and access to various kinds of data.

This process often occurs in the course of research in the field: regardless of the theoretical orientation of the researcher, or the questions or methods established before entering the field, field research inevitably reveals unanticipated phenomena and questions. Unexpected political, economic, or physical barriers to research, or the demands of local informants, may also lead to revision of the project. In some cases, the researcher must immediately revise his or her foci, questions, and methods.

Ethnography, a term often used synonymously with field study, entails not only an omnibus of data collection strategies, but also frequently includes reflexive self-observation in which the researcher’s own experiences and relationships in the field are critical data for analysis. Though field studies can contribute to hypothetico-deductive research, they are particularly valuable when the research goal is to ascertain interpretive meanings and constructions of social action. Modern field studies grow out of the two similar yet distinct social science disciplines of anthropology Encyclopedia of Social Measurement, Volume 2 Ó2005, Elsevier Inc.

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