To help the researcher understand why and how children react to adults who are doing ethnographic research, Fine and Sandstrom explore the methodological and ethical problems of qualitative research with minors. They correct numerous fallacies held by researchers that children think like adults and that they cannot hide their thoughts and feelings from adults, especially strangers. Recognizing that age is an important determinant of children's response, they discuss problems and present strategies for conducting research with three age groups of children: preschool children (4 to 6 year olds), preadolescents (10 to 12) and middle adolescents (14 to 16). This is the first major methodological statement on doing participant observation work with children.

Participant Observation with Adolescents

Adolescence has the reputation for personal turbulence, for Stürm und Drang. Although we might question how well this evaluation fits the behaviors and worldviews of all who share the period known as “the teenage years,” there is no question that many ...

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