ERIC Number: ED233050
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Role Boundaries and Paying Back: 'Switching Hats' in Participant Observation.
Wade, Jacqueline E.
This paper focuses on the technique of role-switching as a workable field relationship tactic in the observer's work site. It describes the nature of subject use of the observer's dual status during the research activity, and conceptualizes the relationship between this type of researcher-role management and the premise of role reciprocity in field research. Based on examples from a field study of black undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania, it describes instances of role switches from researcher to University official in response to the social developmental or academic interests and needs of some of the research subjects. Most prominent among these role switches were counselor, informant and collaborator, and teacher. Examples of subject-initiated encounters with the observer that incite unexpected dimensions of field relationships in the typical study process are briefly recounted in order to lay the foundation of this paper's essential theme. (PN)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Participant Observation; University of Pennsylvania
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, Montreal, Quebec, April 11-15, 1983).