Field Observations: Field observations are defined as “a qualitative observation technique that puts you among the public you are studying in a naturalistic setting” (Broom & Dozier, 1990, p. 149). Public relations practitioners conduct field research whenever they observe or participate in a social behavior and try to understand it. Field observations are used as a data collection activity and theory generating activity. They offer the advantage of probing social life in its natural habitat. There are several types of field observations, ranging from complete participant (where the researcher’s true identity and purpose are not known) to complete observer (where the researcher observes social processes without becoming part of it). One public relations use of field research is observing patterns to see how people work their way through trade shows.
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