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The development of the 'participant observation' method in sociology: origin myth and history
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 23:11 authored by Jennifer Platt
Common understandings about the ancestry of “participant observation” as now defined are historically misleading. In the prewar texts taken as ancestors, access to meanings was not associated with participation per se, and where participation was used data might be quantified and were not distinguished from data from other sources; the term “participant observation” was not widely current, and only gradually developed its present meanings. Methods are defined in relation to the perceived alternatives, and it was only in the 1940s that the current set of alternatives emerged. To understand earlier writers' conceptions, their work must be related to its context.
JournalJournal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
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- Sociology and Criminology Publications
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