- Elgar original reference
Edited by Russell W. Belk
42 The etiquette of qualitative research Julie A. Ruth and Cele C. Otnes Good manners are part of working smart. (Baldrige, 1985, p. 4) Most advice on how to enhance interactions between researchers and informants homes in on two issues: gaining access and helping researchers employ techniques as skillfully as possible (e.g., explaining when, where and how to use ‘grand tour’ questions; McCracken, 1988). So it is fair to say that the quality of researcher/informant interactions is typically considered from the researcher’s perspective and not from that of the informant. But no matter how willingly participants engage in interviews, observations, shopping trips and other activities, the research process always involves researchers imposing on, and requiring sacriﬁces from, informants for a (short or long) time. So how can researchers create research experiences that will be remembered by informants, not as burdens, but as interpersonal encounters that were reasonable in scope, beneﬁcial in some way, and possibly even enjoyable? We believe one clear way is for researchers to understand the roles etiquette can play at diﬀerent stages of interacting with informants, and to realize that etiquette practices should not be regarded as optional, but rather as integral, to the research process. Furthermore, by approaching etiquette as more than a tool, and as a way for researchers to demonstrate their humanity and to reinforce the humanistic ideology that underlies qualitative research, researchers and informants alike can reap practical and relational beneﬁts from their interchanges. Our motivations for writing this...
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