Slices of Lives

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1978, Vol 23(11), 819–820. Reviews the book, Private Lives and Public Accounts by Thomas J. Cottle (see record 1979-05906-000). This book presents a collection of essays in which the human implications of social science research are explored by a sociologist in a method called “observant participation.” As a methodological treatise, it leaves important questions unanswered. Cottle hints that he sometimes uses a tape recorder, sometimes takes extensive notes, sometimes (perhaps) does neither, and always does some reconstruction after the fact, but he never provides a straight forward statement of technique. As a collection of essays, moreover, the book is a mixed bag. In addition, Cottle's writing is uneven–sometimes direct and eloquent, but sometimes overstated and long-winded. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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