Conducting an Unplanned Participant Observation: The Case of a Non-Birder in Bird Watchers' Land

Roni Berger


This article describes two participant observations of birdwatchers, which occurred by serendipity. Characteristics of personal and interpersonal behavior patterns are identified and illustrated. Specifically, four themes including total immersion and dedication to details of birders as well the collaborative-competitive nature of their interactions and sub-culture are discussed in the context of available knowledge about subcultures in other types of sports and leisure activities. Methodological and ethical aspects of unplanned participant observation are also addressed.



bird watching; birders; participant observation; accidental observation; serendipity in qualitative research; subculture

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Copyright (c) 2016 Roni Berger

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