Analyzing the researcher-participant in EMCA
Keywords:researcher as participant, participant observation, unique adequacy, naturalistic data, video analysis
Conversation analysis strives to use naturalistic data in its research, but the definition of “natural” is often unclear (Speer, 2002) and can be at odds with both ethnomethodological understandings of data (Lynch, 2002) and practices of data collection (e.g., Stevanovic et al., 2017; Goodwin, 2018). In this paper, I reconsider the concept of naturalness with respect to a particular data collection practice: When the researcher themselves is a participant in the recorded data. I argue that analysis may be guided by how the researcher-participant is treated by others in the data, and that researchers may be considered as any other participant if treated as making activity-adequate (rather than research-adequate) contributions. Furthermore, researcher presence can demonstrate unique adequacy and provides opportunities to experiment with situated practices that otherwise are atypical or hard to access. This version of “natural” respecifies naturalness as a members’ concern in recorded interaction.
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