As an ethnographic research method, observation has a long history. The value of observation is that it permits researchers to study people in their native environment in order to understand "things" from their perspective. Observation requires the researcher to spend considerable time in the field with the possibility of adopting various roles in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the people being studied. A variety of techniques are used to collect data. Gaining access to the group and leaving the field are two important factors that need consideration. Other areas of concern involve ethical problems, as well as validity and reliability issues. Until recently, few library and information science (LIS) studies have included this method; however, observation is gaining favor as LIS researchers seek to understand better the role of information in people's everyday lives.


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pp. 171-189
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