ERIC Number: ED257624
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Mar-13
Reference Count: 0
Participant Observation as a Research Technique for Camping.
Henderson, Karla A.; Bialeschki, M. Deborah
Two participant observers evaluated the week-long camp experience of adult women in order to assess the appropriateness of participant observation research methods in the camp setting, to identify strengths and weaknesses of this method, and to develop guidelines for its use. The study was part of a larger evaluation of the 9th annual Women's Week sponsored by the Black Hawk Council of Girl Scouts in Wisconsin. Data recorded by the participant observers were systematically analyzed using qualitative procedures with the development of themes as the primary research outcome. The participant observer method was judged appropriate in the camp setting, allowing for description of complex social phenomena without disrupting camp activities. The naturalistic method provided a systematic way to look at camp phenomena, capture details, and generate ideas as data were being collected. Problems included the possibility of observer bias, the high level of skill needed to observe and record events, and the time required for data collection and analysis. Researchers and camp directors wishing to conduct this type of qualitative research should involve two observers to limit bias, use adequate sampling procedures, provide training for the observers, treat data collection and analysis activities as two separate functions, and treat conclusions as working hypotheses. (JHZ)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the American Camping Association Convention (March 13, 1985, Atlanta, GA).