Book Chapter

Multiple Methods and Research Relations with Young People in Rural Bolivia


Punch S (2001) Multiple Methods and Research Relations with Young People in Rural Bolivia. In: Limb M & Dwyer C (eds.) Qualitative Methodologies for Geographers: Issues and Debates. London: Hodder Arnold, pp. 165-180.

First paragraph: This chapter is based on ethnographic research carried out in a rural community, Churquiales, in southern Bolivia (Punch 1998). The study focused on children’s negotiation of their autonomy at home, at school, at work and at play (Punch 2000; Punch Forthcoming). During the fieldwork, I lived for two extended periods in the rural community (consisting of regular short visits over two years and a six months intensive period of fieldwork1). I used a range of qualitative methods including informal and semi-structured interviews and semi-participant observation with most members of a sample of eighteen households. Full participant observation with children is impossible for adults mainly because of their physical size (Fine and Sandstrom 1988) and it has been suggested that a semi-participant observer role is more suitable (James et al. 1998). It is this role which I pursued in Bolivia, as it enables the researcher to participate in children's activities to a certain extent whilst recognising that there are limits to such participation. For instance, I could join in their games and ask them to teach me how to play, but I was a 'different' player who was given special attention by the children since adults do not usually play with them.

children; young people; research methods; ethnography; participant observation; reflexivity; researcher roles; Child development; Children Research --Methodology.; Child psychology; Play psychological aspects

Publication date31/08/2001
PublisherHodder Arnold
Publisher URL…n/dp/0340742267/
Place of publicationLondon