Revista Española de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1135-5727
CALLEJO GALLEGO, Javier. Observation, interview and discussion group: the silence of three research practices. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2002, vol.76, n.5, pp.409-422. ISSN 1135-5727. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1135-57272002000500004.
Before entering into the opposition between quantitative perspective and qualitative perspective of social research, the need is discussed of considering the social research process as a social process and the empirical observation situations per se as social situations. Therefore, in social research, the object of observation and the ways of observation are made in the same stuff. As in any social situation, social norms come into play in the observation situation. Thus, the article develops the presentation of three qualitative social research practices from their design as producing different social situations which, in turn, take on the nature of immediate contexts which favor respective articulations between the practical norms of specific social groups and the dominant social norms in society at large. The practices presented are: participant observation, in-depth interview and discussion group. A different articulation among social norms which finds silence to be privileged way of observation. Hence, the conclusion is reached that the management and analysis of silence is fundamental both for distinguishing the qualitative from the quantitative perspective, the former opening up more to silence than the latter, and to distinguish one practice from another, especially for observing the effects proper of the observation during the observation processes.
Keywords : Sociology; Ethnografy; Participant observation; Interview; Discussion group; Qualitative analisys; Qualitative Research.