Mudcat Café message #3944070 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3944070
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
15-Aug-18 - 07:33 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Jag: true.

On this 'insider knowledge' argument, I have a thought which might well result in a torrent of exasperation from certain quarters, but there are fairly obvious questions to be asked about the ways in which what is asserted to be such knowledge may have been obtained.

They sometimes used to use a metaphor based on the concept of 'observer interference' from physics in social sciences. Basically this usage refers to the problems involved in face to face interviews and experiments in which people know they are being observed. Another way of putting this would be 'experimenter effect' or 'observer expectancy'.

It seems possible to me that some of the contexts which have been described for the collection of the views of tradition bearers are those in which the collectors plainly had strongly held personal views, often highly policitised ones, about the nature and function of folklore though history, and that this may have affected the nature of the responses they obtained. This is without any question of bias, even if not conscious, in the selection and presentation of the data obtained in the interviews.

Awaiting tirades of indignation, but this is not intended personally. These are points that future generations of researchers are bound to bring up. I guess some of them have been brought up.