|• To discuss how rapport, trust and power relations change over time and affect the nature of the data gathered in the field.|
|• To demonstrate how focus groups can be adapted to a non-Western setting and be a valuable anthropological method.|
|• To demonstrate how tourism research can be undertaken in a way that provides benefits for both researchers and the researched.|
Extensive fieldwork is seen as the hallmark of anthropology and usually involves undertaking participant observation for a year or more. However, in the field of tourism many anthropological studies often represent a snapshot (Wilson 1993) and are justly criticised for missing the diachronic nature of change brought about by tourism (Nash 1996). The study reported in this chapter was carried out over a ten-year period, 1989-1999, during which my position as researcher evolved and changed. The research was carried out in three distinct phases: a phase when I was a practitioner-cum-researcher, a phase of participant rural appraisal and a phase of long ethnographic fieldwork. The first two phases are very important to set the context and for understanding the researcher- researchee relationships of the third phase, which is the main focus of the chapter. This chapter discusses how the research process evolved as the relationships and understanding of the research setting changed over time. It examines the nature of relationships between researcher and respondent and how this affects the data-gathering process and impacts upon the ways in which research methods were applied, the quality of the data collected and the eventual uses the data can be put to.
The essentially action-orientated approach employed in the final stage of the research relied upon a high level of trust and confidence, sharing of knowledge and experience, and personal involvement. Although, to establish a good rapport, I favoured non-hierarchical relationships between