“Tricks of the trade” – The art and method of combining interviews and participating observations to generate data on drug users participating in rehabilitation programs
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Original versionBlaalid, B. (2018). “Tricks of the trade” – The art and method of combining interviews and participating observations to generate data on drug users participating in rehabilitation programs. Nord University, Bodø
In this paper, I aim to explore some aspects of qualitative methods applied within sociology and their applicability, more specifically looking at, and reflecting on: What is interviewing and participating observations and how can they be valuable instruments to generate data? Here, the paper will address different perspectives and traditions of interviewing and observation and show what rewards and benefits that lies within combining such methods. In addition, I will discuss the methodical implications on the forms of interviewing (open-ended interviews) and observation (participatory) that I have chosen in my Ph.D. project focusing on drug users. Imbedded in this ambition, the paper will address the challenges I can expect from of adopting an ethnographic design, and look at how using interviews and participatory observation will affect the generation of data when entering the field to conduct fieldwork. In the context of framing my project as an ethnographic study, I will look to distinguished scholars within the field, notably Atkinson, Hammersley, Silverman and others, when discussing the different methodological issues of using such an approach and the methods implied. Finally, this paper is inspired by, and written in conjunction with, a PhD course in Sociology: Qualitative Researching, held by the Faculty of Social Science at Nord University, in the period of November 27th – 29th 2017 (module one) and January 23rd – 24th 2018 (module two).