Participant observation is the foundation of ethnographic research design and supports and complements other types of qualitative and quantitative data collection. Qualitative research in such diverse areas as anthropology, sociology, education, medicine draws on the insights gained through the use of participant observation. The authors have written a guide to the collection of systematic data in naturalistic settings - communities in many different cultures - to achieve an understanding of the most fundamental processes and patterns of social life. This book serves as a basic primer for the beginning researcher and as a useful reference and guide for experienced researchers in many fields who wish to reexamine their own skills and abilities in light of best practices of participant observation. This new edition includes discussions of participant observation in nontypical settings, such as the Internet, participant observation in applied research, and ethics of participant observation. It also explores in greater depth the use of computer-assisted analysis of textual data in issues of sampling and in linking method with theory.