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Researcher–Participant Relationships

To examine communication phenomenon there is often a necessary relationship between researchers and participants. This can range from participants being completely unknown to the researchers, to researchers partnering with participants, or even the researcher themselves becoming participants. There are many things to consider with regard to recruitment, power differences, rapport building, identification, and engagement. These various relationships are often complex negotiations of roles that requires reflexivity, a commitment to human protections and ethics, and the credo of “do no harm.” The amount of contact and type of relationship is highly dependent on the philosophical assumptions and approach of the researcher as well as the type of inquiry. While more traditional social science approaches aim to limit connection with participants, newer paradigms that draw on participatory ...

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