Professional and Personal Issues in Undertaking Naturalistic Research in Education

Year: 1986

Author: Mason, Dr. G.A., Stevens, K.J.

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Naturalistic research has been undertaken in a variety of educational sett- ings in the last decade. Naturalistic research was described in a previous work by the authors as 'an explicit undertaking to lay aside our ideas and concern ourselves with finding the subjects' perspectives in their non- theoretical lives'. The substance of the present paper is that the way that this is achieved will be influenced by the physical environment, the relations that the researcher is able to establish in the 'field', and even the expectations that all concerned, particularly the 'host' group, have for the outcome of the research.

The two authors have undertaken naturalistic studies in contrasting settings, yet it is possible to uncover commonelements in the conduct of such research, and possibly common advice for the uninitiated. There is an old army adage which states - "time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted".