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ERIC Number: ED232899
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Apr
Pages: 14
Abstractor: N/A
Problems in the Study of Spatial Behavior: Field Methods and Ethics.
Sonnenfeld, Joseph
Although field studies in human geography have some advantages over restricted classroom and laboratory studies, special methodological and ethical concerns arise. For example, field studies are able to take into account the complexity of events in natural settings as opposed to the controlled setting of a laboratory, particularly when subjects are required to solve spatial problems. Research concerns, however, involve limitations on the use of instrumentation and, more critically, population sampling. Because it is virtually impossible to control for age, sex, or other demographic characteristics, a researcher may not be able to guarantee study replicability. In addition, when the researcher is working in a small community, respondents continue to be in contact with the researcher and are likely to know one another. Although a good working relationship can be established and respondents' answers to questions can be cross-checked with peers, both parties can become uncomfortable with questions and responses. Because respondents can be adversely affected by public and self-disclosures of traits and competencies they perceive to be negative, publication of the study can be a sensitive issue, even when anonymity is assumed. Researchers, then, need to balance the benefit of the research with the potential psychological harm to the participant. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (Denver, CO, April 24-27, 1983).