The reluctant researcher: shyness in the field

Scott, Susie, Hinton-Smith, Tamsin, Härmä, Vuokko and Broome, Karl (2011) The reluctant researcher: shyness in the field. Qualitative Research, 12 (6). pp. 715-734. ISSN 1468-7941

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Despite the attention qualitative researchers have given to the interaction context and social process of data collection, there has been scant recognition of the dramaturgical dilemmas this poses for the fieldworker. Respondents have been caricatured in an essentialist typology, ranging from the ideal to the reluctant, while the researcher has been assumed to take a relatively privileged position as director of the drama. Here we report on a study of shyness in art galleries and museums, using extracts from our fieldnotes to illustrate how researchers may themselves be prone to feelings of self-consciousness, incompetence and impostordom. Different methodologies and fieldwork scenarios can be located along a ‘cringe spectrum’, to the extent that they involve high levels of performance, improvisation and interactional contingency. We discuss the strategies used by shy and non-shy members of our team to manage such dramaturgical stress, and argue for more reflexive dialogue about this issue

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Susie Scott
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2013 13:04
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2013 13:04
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