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Social Roles in the Ethnographic Fieldwork

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posted on 2019-09-03, 20:14 authored by Desalegn AmsaluDesalegn Amsalu
This paper investigates the concept of social roles in ethnographic fieldwork, its place in the global literature discussing qualitative research methods, and its application in the Ethiopian ethnographic fieldwork. I discuss that social roles are all about seeing one’s role and status, in this case, as researchers, in the social structure of a society or community we do the ethnographic research. Based on my own experience and the experience of other ethnographers elsewhere, I argue that a conscious use of our social roles is a sin qua non for successful ethnographic fieldwork. However, this concept has been given less emphasis in the literature of qualitative research methods. Social roles in the ethnographic fieldwork are especially less known in the Ethiopian ethnographic research experience.


Declaration of conflicts of interest

No conflicts of interest

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Ethiopia

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Researcher

Lead author institution

Addis Ababa University

Human Participants

  • Yes

Ethics statement

The author used a consent sheet where he asked each participant consent for participation. The researcher signed on each consent sheet.  I attached a template of the consent sheet to this form. Besides getting informed consent from each participant, I also received approval from the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa University, for the conduct of the research. The approval is given, among other things, after a review of the soundness of the ethical approach.


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