Chapter SixBeing a Careful Observer

Interviews are a primary source of data in qualitative research; so too are observations. Observations are common in many types of qualitative research, such as in case studies, ethnographies, and qualitative action research studies. Observations are especially important in ethnographic studies.

Observations can be distinguished from interviews in two ways. First, observations take place in the setting where the phenomenon of interest naturally occurs rather than a location designated for the purpose of interviewing; second, observational data represent a firsthand encounter with the phenomenon of interest rather than a secondhand account of the world obtained in an interview. In the real world of collecting ...

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