Observing Intermittently: The Effects of Discontinuity in the Fieldwork

By Montserrat Emperador Badimon


This paper examines the challenges raised by the practice of direct but sporadic observation of activist spaces. Some tangible effects of observing intermittently are the difficulty for the researcher to assume a role that makes sense in the activist space under scrutiny, or to build trust and bonds with the persons surveyed. The recognition of a weak socialization in the milieu can trigger a particular emotional impact. It is necessary to take this into account, as this emotional experience constitutes a source of information about the subject under study just like the data obtained from observations and interviews.
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