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Abstract

This chapter provides an overview of current approaches to observation with a particular focus on fieldnotes as data. Drawing on a number of recent observational studies in educational and workplace settings, the chapter shows how approaches to observation respond to the contextual realities of the research site such as access, relationships and level of intrusion. In turn, writing fieldnotes is also contingent: when they are written and how will depend on how the researcher is situated, for example, as participant or non-participant observer. The chapter will provide examples of fieldnotes from different studies to reveal both common features of and individual approaches to this key ethnographic method of data collection. Finally, the chapter discusses the status of fieldnotes as data and how they can be analysed to develop empirical findings.

Keywords

Fieldnotes Participant observation Vignettes Linguistic ethnography Topic ethnography Qualitative research 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesUniversity of StirlingStirlingScotland

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