Participant Observation

Participant observation remains a principal data collection method within ethnographic research. This workshop will introduce participants to the principles, methods and practice of participant observation. The first part of the workshop will cover the underlying principles of participant observation, the collection of participant observation data, approaches to analysing and writing-up participant observation data, and the reflexive and ethical questions that can arise before, during and after ethnographic fieldwork.  The second part of the workshop will be organised around a more hands-on session, where students will have a chance to put what they have learned into practice.

Instructor profile

Alasdair Jones is Assistant Professor in Qualitative Research Methodology and the Director of the MSc Social Research Methods at the Department of Methodology, LSE.  He is an interdisciplinary scholar and methodologist with particular expertise in the fields of urban studies and programme evaluation. Underpinning his research – which has been funded by ESRC, NCRM, NIHR, UKPRP and the US-UK Fulbright Commission – is a guiding theoretical interest in exploring (using qualitative methods) disconnects between policy expectations/design intentions and practices.

Alasdair teaches or has taught on a range of postgraduate research design and qualitative research methods courses at the LSE.  These include: Fundamentals of Social Science ResearchDesignResearch Design for Studies in Digital InnovationResearch Methods for Evaluation in Health, Development and Public PolicyQualitative Research MethodsDoing Ethnography; and Advanced Qualitative Research Workshops.  In addition, he has co-taught the NCRM short course and the Ethnographic Methods and Practice course for the LSE Methods Summer School.  Alasdair has degrees in Geography (BA [Hons]) and Sociology (MPhil) from the University of Cambridge and he received his ESRC-funded PhD from the LSE’s Department of Sociology (Cities Programme).