ERIC Number: ED208395
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Qualitative Legacy of Participant-Observer Approaches among Sociologists and Journalists from the Chicago Urban Tradition.
The "Chicago School" is the communications legacy left by late nineteenth and early twentieth century Chicago sociologists and journalists. It represents a research tradition of participant-observation and urban journalism concerned with the quality of urban life, as well as a commitment to solving urban problems through civic involvement and journalistic and social enlightenment. John Dewey, Jane Addams, Robert Park, and others of the Chicago School saw urban communications as a key to the study of society and the resolution of issues. For them, the ideal sociologist was one who knew the city, explored it, and thought of ingenious ways to gain insight from it. Chicago-style research experienced a decline between the late 1930s and the mid-1960s, but the explicit techniques of the Chicago School--a combination of communication and social action--have been rediscovered in the past 20 years. There is now frequent acceptance and use of qualitative approaches to journalistic research and practice, such as the urban and environmental critic who not only observes urban life, but also evaluates its quality. There is also the continuing practice of gathering news through both undercover and identified personal reportorial experience in places like mental hospitals, schools and prisons, welfare agencies and nuclear plants. Furthermore, contemporary practicing journalists are using personal participation to reveal the communications process in news-gathering. Thus, the qualitative research tradition and communication theory of the Chicago School are no longer dormant. (RL)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Investigative Reporting; Journalism History; Participant Observation
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism (64th, East Lansing, MI, August 8-11, 1981). Not available in paper copy due to marginal legibility of original document.