McGettigan (2001) 'Field Research for Boneheads: From
Naïveté to Insight on the Green Tortoise'
Sociological Research Online, vol. 6, no. 2, <http://www.socresonline.org.uk/6/2/mcgettigan.html>
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Received: 2001/4/27 Accepted: 2001/10/10 Published: 2001/8/31
Photo 1: The Green Tortoise
Photo 2: An Interior Shot of the Tortoise
Photo 3: Desert Stopover
Photo 4: Big Bend Camp Site
Photo 5: Boquillas' Surroundings
...I sensed...that I could have my cake and eat it too. I could share in the excitement, the thrills of participating in events that seemed almost magnetic-and be spared the costs: the uncertainty of risk-taking (Thorne, 1979, p. 81).
If anyone had told me that I was about to "interfere" in a field situation and that I was thereby breaking a primary rule of scientific procedure, I think I would have laughed or, perhaps, told the admonisher to go to hell (Wax, 1971, p. 158).
Photo 6: Tidying Up
2Also see Neumann (1993) for an account of a trip he took in 1987.
3I decided that my opinion of Jake could not improve sufficiently to tolerate any kind of interaction with him. Instead I decided to ignore him. While this was a daunting project because of our restricted quarters, nevertheless, we were able to maintain an impressive distance for the remainder of the trip. Interestingly, as reprehensible as I consider Jake's behaviour, I found his presence instructive. Largely because of my abhorrence, I consciously-and not without annoying plagues of conscience-exercised double standards in relation to his behavior. Thus, I learned useful lessons about the value-based nature of my "objective," analytical mind.
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