Researching drug sellers: an experiential account from the field.

Ward, Jennifer ORCID: (2008) Researching drug sellers: an experiential account from the field. Sociological research online, 13 (1) . ISSN 1360-7804 [Article]


Ethnographic research techniques are well regarded as a way to elicit detailed understandings of human interaction. They are particularly useful for examining 'deviant' cultures and the dynamics of illegal activity. Though, ethnographic research on illegal activity can be 'messy'. This paper reports some practical and ethical issues encountered while carrying out an ethnographic study of drug use and drug selling among 'rave' dance participants in London. In particular it addresses the issue of using friendship to assist the research relationship and the use of a semi-covert style of research. Connected to this, it touches on the emotional work of the fieldworker whilst undertaking
'sensitive' research. It makes a timely contribution to discussions of 'reflexivity' in the research process, as well as the discourse on social sciences research governance. It argues the standardized codes of ethical conduct can not easily be translated to ethnographic research on criminal activity, such as drug use and drug selling.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Criminology and Sociology
ISI Impact: 0
Item ID: 2849
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2009 07:43
Last Modified: 05 Jan 2020 13:47

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