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Participant observation - anthropological research

Participant observation is a social science research method where the researcher participates in the social processes he/she is studying. The method is most frequently used in anthropology, but is also used, for example, by social scientists in studies of small groups, workplaces etc.

Collecting data in this way is often a very dynamic process. In order to be able to review processing of personal data, the Data Protection Official is still dependent on to getting some information about the project. For instance, a short project description can preferably be submitted with the notification form.

We remind you that observation notes of situations and events where neither directly or personally identifiable date is registered, are not subject to notification. Read more about the notification duty and see how a project can be carried out without being subject to notification.

Information and consent

The main rule when registering personal data in research, is obtaining (written or verbal) consent from the participants. It is also important to adapt the information to be given based on everything from language and age to cultural background. See also our pages on information and consent, and see at what age children may give their consent to participate.

Personal data collected for research purposes should not be stored longer than what is necessary for the purpose of the project. However, data may be stored and used after completing the project, for example for further ethnographic or research purposes, if there has been obtained consent for this from the participants.

If data is to be published with personally identifying information, for example through an ethnographic film, photos or other identifying information, the researcher must have obtained consent from participants to such publication.

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