Participant Observation

Participant observation is a key qualitative data collection method in a variety of disciplines, most notably anthropology. Participant observation of religion entails observing religious practices in situ and participating in them whenever possible. There are several limitations and unique opportunities afforded by this research method: Limitations include the subjective nature of interacting with interlocutors and experiencing the field as a participant observer. The individual experience also affords many opportunities in the form of flexibility that allows for open-ended discovery.

In anthropology, participant observation is a founding concern and forms a key methodological part of ethnography. This approach has been taken up by other disciplines as an effective method for investigating a limited number of interlocutors in small-scale settings. In sociology, the earliest and most powerful exponents ...

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