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By Paul Valéry

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In doing fieldwork one is always faced with conflicting values and a wide range of possible choices. Should I tape record what an informant says or merely make a written record? How will I use the data collected and should I tell informants how it will be used? Should I study the kinship terms used by informants or the tactics used by the colonial government to keep them oppressed? If I observe someone who engages in illegal behavior, should I make my field notes inaccessible to the police? If informants are children, should teachers or parents have access to my fieldnotes?

This means planning not only with teachers and administrators, if one is studying a fourth-grade classroom for instance, but also with the students. In many cases, since informants do not yet understand the nature of ethnography, the aims of research will have to develop during the study. This means the ethnographer, in consultation with informants, must be willing to direct the investigation into paths suggested by informants. " But as I progressed, informants' interests led to a change in goals.

Even the 24 ETHNOGRAPHY FOR WHAT? simple gain of participating in a research project can be sufficient for many informants to talk to an ethnographer. Although "fair return" will vary from one informant to the next, the needs of informants for some gain from the project must not be ignored. Make Reports Available to Informants In accordance with the Association's general position on clandestine and secret research, no reports should be provided to sponsors that are not also available to the general public and, where practicable, to the population studied.

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