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The limitations & opportunities of subjectivity in field studies: A reflexive study of a field study prepared by a future engineer
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Industrial Economics and Management (Dept.), Industrial Management.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (university diploma), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Subjektivitetens begränsningar & möjligheter i examensarbeten : En reflexiv studie av ett kvalitativt arbete utfört av en blivande civilingenjör (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Master theses written within the master program for engineers should be objective whether they are based on qualitative or quantitative studies. One could question if it is possible to be objective in a qualitative study, and if one even wants to eliminate the knowledge the subjective experiences result in. This thesis shows how events and feelings emerging during a field study effect the student writing the thesis, the consequences on the result of the study and the assessment of it.

In an attempt to answer how an engineering student should handle the fact that one influences, and is influenced by, the studied objects, theories in; epistemology, objectivity, subjectivity and intersubjectivity are used. There are norms stating what is considered to be a legitimate way to present a study’s results. If these norms are not followed, the credibility of the study will possibly be questioned.

Four perspectives are used in order to highlight specific aspects on how events and feelings, as a result of an ethnographic study, affect a student and the consequences it can have on the study’s results. These perspectives are; the impact of intersubjectivity, the importance of time, the power of norms and the impact the need of legitimatizing has on studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 48 p.
Keyword [en]
Qualitative study, ethnographic study, subjectivity, intersubjectivity, objectivity, uniformity within theses, engineering student, positivistic viewpoint, norms, credibility of studies.
National Category
Economics and Business
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-140883OAI: diva2:693425
Available from: 2014-02-07 Created: 2014-02-04 Last updated: 2014-02-07Bibliographically approved

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