chapter  chapter 7
2 Pages

Field Research

ByKerry J. Strand, Gregory L. Weiss

When social science researchers immerse themselves in social worlds and interact with people in order to understand those worlds through people’s eyes, they are doing field research. This chapter provides many insights into the distinctive features of field research—insights that challenge the common perception that field research is less rigorous than quantitative approaches such as survey and experimental design. Although field researchers have some sort of plan when they enter the field—an idea of what they wish to learn and the concepts or theoretical frameworks to guide their data collection and analysis—they are participating in social settings and relationships over which they have limited control. In field research, the researcher neither strives nor pretends to be an objective and distanced observer of social life, but instead deals quite openly with the ways that she or he affects and is affected by the research.