How we understand and define qualitative data is changing, with implications not only for the techniques of data analysis, but also how data are collected. New devices, technologies and online spaces open up new ways for researchers to approach and collect images, moving images, text and talk. The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection systematically explores the approaches, techniques, debates and new frontiers for creating, collecting and producing qualitative data. Bringing together contributions from internationally leading scholars in the field, the handbook offers a state-of-the-art look at key themes across six thematic parts: Part I Charting the Routes Part II Concepts, Contexts, Basics Part III Types of Data and How to Collect Them Part IV Digital and Internet Data Part V Triangulation and Mixed Methods Part VI Collecting Data in Specific Populations

Observations

David Wästerfors

Qualitative researchers often need observations of people, their actions and settings, but apart from that general direction it is hard to pinpoint a superior kind of observational data. What to observe, and how, depends on the project. In this chapter I will try to show how the preferable kind of observations is a highly varied category. Then I will argue that there are still particular and quite fundamental qualities to strive for, even though every project is distinctive in its character. But first, let me start with the general aims of observations, the theoretical assumptions of the approach and its historical background.

COLLECTING DATA BY OBSERVATIONS

What social scientists typically aim for when making observations is to gather data ...

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