Methodological challenges of participant-observation.

Gathering/interpreting/documenting persuasive evidence

Advance decisions about your presence at/within the scene

Degree of presence: observer/skeptic/participant/activist?

Visibility of presence: confidential/full disclosure?

Length of presence: one-time/short term/repeat visits

Timing of data collection: immediate/later

What kind of data? detailed description, mapping, chronology, commentary, imaging, recording, others

Suggestion:Begin as novice/observer

What’s going on here? Purpose of group/gathering/event

Who are the actors?

How is the scene set up?

How/why do interactions occur?

Which events are significant?

How to categorize/record those events?

Challenges to avoid

Disturbing the scene

‘Going Native’

Mind reading: Assuming more than you know

Overly selective observation: be open to the unexpected.