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Article
Publication date: 20 March 2007

Henrik Pålsson

The purpose of this paper is to describe the advantages, challenges and uncertainties of collecting and analyzing data using participant observation in logistics research.

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4714

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe the advantages, challenges and uncertainties of collecting and analyzing data using participant observation in logistics research.

Design/methodology/approach

Experiences from a participant observation study of an interorganizational radio frequency identification (RFID) implementation in an international environment are presented and reflected on. The RFID implementation included complex interactions between three leading companies.

Findings

The results appear to support an increased use of participant observation in qualitative logistics research, particularly when investigating interorganizational aspects. The analysis highlights values, general limitations and challenges of using participant observation in logistics. The paper illustrates that using participant observation results in significant and detailed findings, which would be difficult to achieve with other methods. Suggestions on how to take advantage of the method's benefits and overcome methodological challenges are provided.

Research limitations/implications

Future research may address experiences from other studies regarding how to analyze and report data from a participant observation study. It may also clarify the role the method is given in case studies and extend the analysis of epistemological aspects conducted in this paper.

Practical implications

This paper may inspire logistics researchers to consider participant observation, either as sole method or as part of a multi‐methodical case study, in order to make use of its benefits and thus broaden the dimensions of logistics research.

Originality/value

A broad literature review indicates that participant observation studies are rather uncommon in logistics research. This paper thus highlights the potential of using this method in logistics research, particularly when investigating the overlooked, but essential, interorganizational aspects of logistics and SCM.

Details

International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-0035

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Article
Publication date: 11 March 2014

Dewi Jaimangal-Jones

The purpose of this paper is to explore the issues surrounding the use of ethnography and participant observation in event studies. It considers the role and benefits of…

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3453

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the issues surrounding the use of ethnography and participant observation in event studies. It considers the role and benefits of participant observation in terms of understanding event audiences and provides examples of the range of participant motivations and preferences such approaches can reveal and explore. As a methodological paper it focuses on the processes, challenges and benefits surrounding the utilisation of ethnographic methods within events research, with specific examples taken from an ethnographic study into contemporary dance music culture to contextualise the discussion.

Design/methodology/approach

Ethnography and participant observation are flexible research approaches characterised by varying levels of participation in and observation of different cultural groups and activities. This paper focuses specifically on participant observation revolving around field trips, focus groups, internet research and key informant interviews.

Findings

The challenges facing ethnographic researchers studying event audiences include identifying opportunities for observation and participation, identity negotiation for different research settings, their positioning on the participant observer spectrum, recruiting participants, recording data and the extent to which research takes an overt or covert approach, bearing in mind ethics and participant reactivity. It concludes that once these challenges are addressed, this multifaceted approach provides a valuable avenue for researchers exploring the range of socio-cultural forces at play surrounding event audiences and their experiences.

Originality/value

It advocates a shift from attempts to quantify audience motivations and experiences, to methods which seek to understand them more fully through focusing on the entirety of the event experience and the influence of surrounding cultural networks and discourses.

Details

International Journal of Event and Festival Management, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1758-2954

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Article
Publication date: 5 January 2015

Radhika Bongoni, Ruud Verkerk, Matthijs Dekker and Bea Steenbekkers

Domestic preparation practices influence the sensory properties and nutritional composition of food products. Information on the variability in actual domestic preparation…

Abstract

Purpose

Domestic preparation practices influence the sensory properties and nutritional composition of food products. Information on the variability in actual domestic preparation practices is needed to assess the influence of applied conditions on the sensory and nutritional quality of food. The collection of such information requires a reliable, valid and practical research method. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Direct in-home observations, observations in a model-kitchen using cameras, and a self-reporting questionnaire were evaluated for reliability and validity, to study domestic food preparation practices by consumers. Broccoli preparation practices by Dutch consumers were checked by these three methods in this research paper.

Findings

All three research methods were found to be test-retest, inter-observer, parallel-form reliable; and face, content and concurrent valid. However, the self-reporting questionnaire is the most practical research method that can be administered on a large number of respondents in a short time to capture the wide variations in preparation practices.

Originality/value

Consumers can be assisted on domestic food preparation practices that reach their sensory preferences (e.g. texture, colour) as well as have health benefits on consumption.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 117 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2021

Paolo Franco and Ye (Nicole) Yang

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the methodological importance of how researchers exit fieldwork to draw attention to implications for participant and researcher…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the methodological importance of how researchers exit fieldwork to draw attention to implications for participant and researcher well-being.

Design/methodology/approach

Reflecting in detail on one researcher’s final six-months exiting fieldwork at a retirement village, this paper critically examines the unintended consequences of participant observation and researcher-participant relationships.

Findings

The paper illustrates that difficulties to exit fieldwork can be unintended consequences of participant observation activities and developing researcher-participant relationships. The findings also discuss how fieldwork exit can impose upon participant and researcher well-being.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are built upon fieldwork at a retirement village where the researcher served as a volunteer. Thus, the discussion focusses on participant observation activities that are likely to lead to close researcher-participant relationships. However, this paper aims to serve as a useful resource for researchers when considering how to exit their unique fieldwork contexts “with grace”.

Practical implications

The paper provides practical suggestions to help marketing researchers such as ethnographers, manage fieldwork exits with participant and researcher well-being concerns in mind.

Social implications

The practical suggestions provided by this paper aim to enable marketing researchers to exit fieldwork contexts “with grace” through reflection and proactive management of the social impacts of their research activities.

Originality/value

Even though researchers acknowledge fieldwork is social and personal by nature, little research attention has been paid to the management of researcher-participant relationships and the exit stage of fieldwork. This paper discusses and addresses this blind-spot in marketing research.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2011

Wendy Hein, Stephanie O'Donohoe and Annmarie Ryan

This paper examines the value of mobile phones in ethnographic research, and seeks to demonstrate how this particular technology can support and enhance participant observation.

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2856

Abstract

Purpose

This paper examines the value of mobile phones in ethnographic research, and seeks to demonstrate how this particular technology can support and enhance participant observation.

Design/methodology/approach

Reflecting in detail on one researcher's experience of incorporating this technological device into an ethnographic study, the paper considers how new observational tools can contribute to research beyond data generation.

Findings

The study suggests that the mobile phone can be an extension of the ethnographer and act as a powerful prosthetic, allowing the researcher to translate ethnographic principles into practice.

Research limitations/implications

This paper reflects on the uses of a mobile phone in an ethnographic study of young men's consumer experiences. Thus, the discussion focuses on a research site where the mobile phone holds a ubiquitous position. However, there are now more than four billion mobile phones in circulation worldwide, so whilst acknowledging important differences in research sites, this research can be seen to have wide implications beyond the study of young consumers.

Practical implications

The paper argues that mobile phones allow researchers to record their observations, co‐create data and share experiences with their participants in ways that enhance the quality of ethnographic interpretations and understanding.

Originality/value

Little research attention has been paid to how emerging technologies support the more traditional participant observer, or how researchers actually embed them within their fieldwork. This paper addresses this gap and considers the wide‐ranging role that technology can have throughout this research process.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2018

Ruth Strudwick

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the tensions between being covert and overt during ethnographic observations. The example of an ethnographic study of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the tensions between being covert and overt during ethnographic observations. The example of an ethnographic study of the culture in a diagnostic imaging department will be used to provide examples.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a reflection on an ethnographic study, focussing on the participant observation.

Findings

This paper discusses the author’s reflections on the covert and overt nature of ethnographic observation.

Originality/value

The discussion is of value to all ethnographic researchers who experience this tension.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Article
Publication date: 22 March 2021

Matthew Militello, Lynda Tredway, Lawrence Hodgkins and Ken Simon

The purpose of this study was to explore the utility of a virtual reality (VR) classroom experience for improving the capacity of instructional leaders. Specifically…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to explore the utility of a virtual reality (VR) classroom experience for improving the capacity of instructional leaders. Specifically, school leaders used VR to build their classroom observation and analysis skills to prepare to have more effective post-observation conversations with teachers. The authors provide insights from multiple data points that highlight the affordances of the virtual setting for improving classroom observation skills.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the application of simulations to practice classroom observations, the authors developed a VR experience in which participants tag observable elements of academic discourse using codes from two observation protocols. The protocols identify elements of equitable student access: how teachers call on students and how they design questions. Seventy-five school leaders used the VR platform to observe a classroom scenario and code evidence of equitable classroom access. The authors analyzed data from tagging in the virtual reality scenario and triangulated these data with survey data focused on observation practices from participants' schools. A reflection component is included on the platform to collect these qualitative data.

Findings

The study results indicate that the virtual reality platform provides an innovative process for leadership professional development focused on building school leaders' capacity to identify elements of academic discourse during classroom observations. Participants reported that the opportunity to practice classroom observations in a risk-free environment was useful. However, for school leaders to fully transfer the data to using in conversations with teachers, they benefit from leadership coaching.

Originality/value

This study ascertains the potential effectiveness of an advanced technology for enhancing instructional leadership by using evidence-based classrooms observations to drive improvements in teaching practice. Beyond the utility of the virtual reality tool, this study provides a proof of concept for the next generation of instructional leadership through teacher observations with augmented reality.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 59 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1994

Gerald Vinten

Participant observation, in which research is carried out through thedirect participation of the researcher in the situation of interest, isa method of considerable…

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9036

Abstract

Participant observation, in which research is carried out through the direct participation of the researcher in the situation of interest, is a method of considerable interest to managerial psychologists, and others such as staff officers and other employees who carry out a similar role. Unfortunately it, and qualitative methodology as a whole, of which participant observation is a sub‐species, are approaches which are widely denigrated in the literature. This is unjust, since the method is not without its rigours, and the alternative, complementary and more highly regarded quantitative approach is not without its flaws, some of them fatal. Gives examples where participant observation is likely to be the only viable method of eliciting information, and there may be a significant public interest in such cases. There are ethical objections to covert participant observation, but even this has its valid applications. Participant observation should achieve its rightful place as a major research method with diverse application and usefulness.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Book part
Publication date: 27 August 2014

Catharina von Koskull

This chapter focuses on the ethnographic research approach that I employed in a service marketing study. The first part briefly describes ethnography’s key…

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the ethnographic research approach that I employed in a service marketing study. The first part briefly describes ethnography’s key characteristics, that is, emergent research logic, prolonged fieldwork, and multiple modes of data collection, where the main method is observation. The second part discusses the data collection methods: participant observation, informal discussion, interview, and document analysis. This section describes in detail how these techniques were used in practice and highlights the key challenges I faced, especially related to the observations, and how I managed these challenges. The third part describes the case, field setting, informants, and field relationships. The development project that I studied concerned a bank’s website and project members from the bank and different consultant agencies represent the study’s informants. The fieldwork lasted for about one year and covered the entire development process from the initial stages to the launch, and some time after. The chapter ends with a thorough discussion about the research criteria of validity, reliability, and generality, and the coping tactics that I used in this study to enhance these. Prolonged fieldwork, multiple modes of data collection, reflexivity, and specification of the research are among those important tactics that this last section discusses in detail.

Details

Field Guide to Case Study Research in Business-to-business Marketing and Purchasing
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-080-3

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Book part
Publication date: 26 August 2010

Sergio Biggemann

This paper reports the results of a three-year-long research on business relationships, relying on qualitative data gathered through multiple-case study research of four…

Abstract

This paper reports the results of a three-year-long research on business relationships, relying on qualitative data gathered through multiple-case study research of four focal companies operating in Australia. The industry settings are as follows: steel construction, vegetable oils trading, aluminum and steel can manufacture, and imaging solutions. The research analyzes two main aspects of relationships: structure and process. This paper deals with structure describing it by the most desired features of intercompany relationships for each focal company. The primary research data have been coded drawing on extant research into business relationships. The main outcome of this part of the research is a five construct model composed by trust, commitment, bonds, distance, and information sharing that accounts for all informants’ utterances about relationship structure.

Details

Organizational Culture, Business-to-Business Relationships, and Interfirm Networks
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-85724-306-5

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