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The paradox from within: research participants doing-being-observed

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Spencer Hazel


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This article analyses a collection of cases from video recordings of naturally occurring interaction in institutional settings, where members display an orientation to the presence of the recording equipment. Such instances have been treated elsewhere as evidence of contamination of the ecology of the setting. The findings suggest that participants do remain aware of the recording activity, but that they publicly display when they are attending to it. Indeed, it is used as one resource to occasion identity work as competent, knowledgeable members of a particular institutional community, displaying to one another their understanding of the research aims, and their knowledge of how these kinds of data are constituted. Investigating how observational research is oriented to and constituted by the observed allows for a better understanding of what at that moment and in that setting is deemed recording-appropriate or -inappropriate conduct, and offers a more nuanced perspective on how data are co-constituted.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hazel S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Qualitative Research

Year: 2016

Volume: 16

Issue: 4

Pages: 446-467

Print publication date: 01/08/2016

Online publication date: 03/09/2015

Acceptance date: 23/06/2015

ISSN (print): 1468-7941

ISSN (electronic): 1741-3109

Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd.


DOI: 10.1177/1468794115596216


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