This clear, straightforward textbook embraces the practical reality of actually doing fieldwork. It tackles the common problems faced by new researchers head on, offering sensible advice and instructive case studies from the author’s own experience. Barbara Czarniawska takes us on a master class through the research process, encouraging us to revisit the various facets of the fieldwork research and helping us to reframe our own experiences. Combining a conversational style of writing with an impressive range of empirical examples she takes the reader from planning and designing research to collecting and analyzing data all the way to writing up and disseminating findings. This is a sophisticated introduction to a broad range of research methods and methodologies; it will be of great interest to anyone keen to revisit social research in the company of an expert guide.

What, Why, and How?

What, Why, and How?

In this chapter I attempt to recreate the researcher’s situation at the beginning of a study, when major decisions are being made. Toward that end, the chapter is structured around the basic questions to be asked and answered.

What do you want to study?

What do you want to study? A new phenomenon that raised your curiosity? A phenomenon that raised someone else’s curiosity? A phenomenon that has never been studied before? And if it has never been studied before, why not? A variety of answers to the latter is possible:

  • It was under some sort of ideological, political, or religious taboo.
  • It was taken for granted. Ethnomethodologists specialize in studying taken-for-granted phenomena; marketing scholars call such studies ‘queries’ (Carson et al., 2001).
  • It has ...
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