Few social researchers study elites because elites, by their nature, are very difficult to access. The contributors to this volume provide valuable insights on how researchers can successfully penetrate elite settings. As the authors reflect on their experiences, they provide constructive advice as well as cautionary tales about how they learned to maneuver and become accepted in a world that is often closed to them. This book's coverage includes three broad research domains: business elites, professional elites, and community and political elites. Although the studies focus on qualitative methodology, even researchers who emphasize more quantitative methods will benefit from this volume's thoughtful observations on how researchers gather data, construct interview strategies, write about their subjects, and experience the research process. A wide range of researchers in organizational studies, sociology, political science, and many other fields will find this volume to be an important guide to the many subtle and elusive features of conducting successful research with these groups.

Using Electronic Media to Support Fieldwork in a Corporate Setting
Using electronic media to support fieldwork in a corporate setting
John P.Workman, Jr.

Participant observation has typically called on the fieldworker to get close to those being studied and seek to come to an understanding of how they see the world. As Van Maanen (1988, p. 2) notes, “Fieldwork usually means living with and living like those who are studied.” However, when those being studied are geographically dispersed and rely on electronic mail, telephones, faxes, and video conferences in order to communicate with one another, new approaches to fieldwork may be called for. This note, based on nine months of participant observation in a computer systems firm, considers some of the ways in which electronic communication forums ...

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