Participant Observation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


Participant observation involves spending time being, living or working with people or communities in order to understand them. In other words, it is, as the name implies, a method based on participating and observing in which field-notes, sketches, photographs or video recordings are used as a method of data collection. The basis of this approach is to become, or stay, as close to the spatial phenomenon being studied as possible and it is thereby quite distinct from methodologies that emphasize distance and objectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKey Methods in Geography
EditorsNicholas Clifford, Shaun French, Gill Valentine
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780857025364
ISBN (Print)978-1412935098
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • participant-observation
  • qualitative methods
  • ethnography
  • human geography


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