Notes From the Field: Research in a Complex Bureaucracy

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Abstract

Field research is always a challenge. It involves going to the source of information, often doing face-to-face interviewing, and depending on the largesse and kindness of others to help facilitate the interview schedule. I recently initiated a field study involving social workers who work in the military. I anticipated numerous challenges in accessing participants, in finding departments of social work willing to participate, and so on. However, I could never have anticipated the actual struggles that I encountered well before participants became an issue. This article will explain some of those challenges.

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