Gaining Access: A Practical and Theoretical Guide for Qualitative Researchers

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Overview

Gaining access is a critical part of doing research, not only because one must "get in" in order to gain information, but also because the quality of access affects what information is available to the researcher. Despite its importance, the literature on qualitative methods has not yet provided an extensive treatment of this issue. Gaining Access fills the void by offering useful, prescriptive advice on how to successfully enter different field settings for interviewing and observation. The detailed methodological guidelines presented by the authors are reinforced in a set of case studies by expert researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds on a wide variety of formal and informal settings, from working with ethnic minorities in Bosnia to studying prisons, sex workers, welfare offices, and the clergy. This book will provide useful ideas to experienced qualitative researchers as well as invaluable advice to novices conducting their first study.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
Stressing the fluid nature of gaining access, the three authors discuss the relational aspects of preparing for, entering into, working within, and exiting a research site . . . [the] contributors have political science and policy degrees and ongoing research interests, making this volume most helpful for readers in similar fields.
— C. Hendrickson, Marlboro College
Oct. 2004 Sociological Abstracts
The book provides useful ideas to experienced qualitative researchers as well as invaluable advice to novices conducting their first studies.
CHOICE - C. Hendrickson
Stressing the fluid nature of gaining access, the three authors discuss the relational aspects of preparing for, entering into, working within, and exiting a research site . . . [the] contributors have political science and policy degrees and ongoing research interests, making this volume most helpful for readers in similar fields.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759102156
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2003
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Martha S. Feldman is associate dean of the Ford School of Public Policy and professor of political science and public policy. Jeannine Bell teaches at the Indiana University Law School. Michele Berger is a political scientist at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. I Stages of Access
Ch. 1 Finding Informants 3
Ch. 2 Human Subjects and Permission to Contact Informants 13
Ch. 3 Making Initial Contact 23
Ch. 4 Developing Rapport 35
Ch. 5 Exiting: Ending the Relationship 47
Pt. II Gaining Access: The Inside Stories
Ch. 6 Gaining Access to Individuals 53
Maintaining Access 57
Chinese Officials as Ordinary Respondents 61
Dealing with Difficult Gatekeepers, Vulnerable Populations, and "Hooks" That Go Awry 65
Courting Minorities in Postwar Bosnia 68
Ch. 7 Gaining Access for Interviewing 75
Accessing Business, Government, and Nongovernmental Organization Actors in Mexico and Brazil 79
Rendering unto Caesar: Gaining Access to Local Religious Leaders 83
Breaking into the Bank: The Challenge of Gaining Meaningful Access to the World Bank 86
Help from Unexpected Places: Access and Assistance from within an Organization 92
Ch. 8 Gaining Access for Interviewing and Observation 99
Going to Prison 102
How I Got Them to Talk to Me: The Importance of Persistence, Personality, and Identity 106
Accessing Multiple Human Service Organizations for Field-Based Research 110
Ch. 9 Gaining Access for Extended Observation 117
Studying Work Groups in India, China, and Hungary 120
Accessing Architects in the Auto Industry 124
Access into Rivera: Entering and Exiting an Urban High School 129
Crossing That Yellow Line: Obtaining Access to the Police Departments 133
Ch. 10 Gaining Access for Participation 139
Perseverance Furthers 142
Inside the Department of Energy 146
Access as Relating: On the Relationship Aspects of Different Types of Access 150
Access and Participation in a Government Agency 154
Bibliography 161
Index 167
About the Contributors 171
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