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Passing and moving: negotiating fieldwork roles in football fandom research

Jessica Richards (School of Business, Western Sydney University, Parramatta, Australia)

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Article publication date: 25 May 2018

Issue publication date: 16 July 2019




Gaining access to the research field has received much academic attention; however, the literature focusing on the changing and/or multiple roles that researchers adopt during fieldwork has at times been oversimplified. The purpose of this paper is to outline the multiple stages of the fieldwork journey, a more reflexive approach to fieldwork and the research process can be attained.


Data were generated from a four-year ethnographic study of the match-day experiences of the fans of Everton Football Club. In total, over 100 hours were spent doing fieldwork observations with an additional 25 semi-structured interviews forming the data set.


This paper argues that researchers should be more critical of their position in the field of their research, and should seek to identify this more clearly in their scholarship. This in turn would enable for more discussions of how each stage of the fieldwork journey affected the scope and overall findings of the research.


This paper provides an alternative framework for ethnographic researchers to better recognise and acknowledge reflexivity throughout the research process. This is done by outlining the various stages of fieldwork engagement more clearly to better understand how researchers change and adapt to the research environment.



Richards, J. (2019), "Passing and moving: negotiating fieldwork roles in football fandom research", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 8 No. 2, pp. 146-158.



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