[Air-l] ethnography and ethics

ET et at tarik.com.au
Wed May 5 02:23:58 PDT 2004

greetings aoir'ers,

I am trying to get my head around the issue of ethnography and ethics.

As I understand it, a researcher should announce themselves to the group 
they are researching and set guidelines etc for their involvement in the 
study group.
This is seen as ethical,  correct??

But not everyone has the same ethical stance, the same morality, the 
same values.

I, for example, place far more emphasis on results than process - others 
place a higher value on process.

As someone obsessed with results, I would prefer to see a person immerse 
themself in a group unannounced and live and breathe and interact with 
the study group as one of the participants. To me, if one is studying 
humanity one should be part of it, exposed to the same experiences, 
feeling the full swing of their emotions through their research.
The obvious criticism of such an approach would be that one is too 
involved and therefore potentially producing inaccurate research.
But is such research any less accurate than the arms length - dont get 
involved - approach where the participants are wary of the watcher?

Does this desire to be immersed completely, passionately and unannounced 
make one an unethical researcher?
Is such a form of  research bad, or is there a normal, healthy school of 
thought proud to promote itself as the school of unethical research?
And, of course, who should judge the ethics of another anyhow?

 I suppose what I am trying to ask is, is wanting to immerse oneself in 
research as an active participant with the same "no rules" approach as 
the other participants unethical and is it unacceptable to the broad 
body of researchers?

Am I going to be lonely in my School of Unethical Research - members, 
1   :-)

see ya

Eero Tarik

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