Researcher–Participant Relationships in Observational Research

The researcher–participant relationship in observational research is of central importance to qualitative, field-based research outcomes. To negotiate this relationship successfully, the researcher must have a clear understanding of his or her positionality, different researcher roles, and ethics in conducting fieldwork. Moreover, the researcher should be able to adopt different roles throughout the course of the study and maintain a stance of openness, curiosity, and mindfulness. A common example of adopting different roles in fieldwork can be seen when a researcher begins a study as a relative outsider, conducting observations, and recording field notes from the periphery of the scene. Then, over the course of the study, the researcher develops deeper relationships with the participants and becomes more of an insider and direct participant ...

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