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Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 7, Issue 1–2, pp 16–33 | Cite as

Field work with the computer: Criteria for assessing systems

  • Howard S. Becker
  • Andrew C. Gordon
  • Robert K. LeBailly
Articles

Abstract

Computers, both large and small, can be of great assistance to a field worker. This assistance falls mainly in the area of relieving the field worker from tedious mechanical phases such as typing, sorting, and retrieving information. An examination of field work methods identifies issues and problems which must be addressed by any system for undertaking field work. A rationale for a “loose and inclusive” (as opposed to an exhaustive and mutually exclusive) coding system is presented. Efficiency, confidentiality, data reduction, and flexibility of testing propositions are discussed as criteria for assessing any system which facilitates field work. The paper concludes by contrasting the methods previously used to collect data, reduce its bulk, code, and retrieve information with what is possible with today's computer hardware and software, and with what will be possible in the near future.

Keywords

Social Psychology Social Issue Field Work Data Reduction Code System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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References

  1. Becker, H. S., B. Geer and E. C. Hughes 1968 Making the Grade: The Academic Side of College Life. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  2. Drass, K. A. 1980 “The analysis of qualitative data: A computer program.” Urban Life 9:332–353.Google Scholar
  3. Seidel, J. V. and J. A. Clark 1982 “Computer techniques for storing, retrieving, and managing ethnographic data.” Presented at the 1982 Midwest Sociological Society Meetings.Google Scholar
  4. Stone, P. J., D. C. Dunphy, M. S. Smith, and D. M. Ogilvie 1966 The General Inquirer: A Computer Approach to Content Analysis. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard S. Becker
    • 1
  • Andrew C. Gordon
    • 1
  • Robert K. LeBailly
    • 1
  1. 1.Northwestern UniversityUSA

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