Open Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 3, Issue 5 (May 2015)

ISSN Print: 2327-5952   ISSN Online: 2327-5960

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.93  Citations  

The Role of the Researcher When Using the Socio-Anthropological Method to Understand the Phenomenon of Alcoholism

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DOI: 10.4236/jss.2015.35011    4,025 Downloads   4,544 Views   Citations


The consumption of alcoholic beverages during the Brazilian Armed Forces working hours was studied for the first time only recently, by investigating the patients of the Center for Chemical Dependency (CEDEQ) of the Brazilian Navy. This was possible mainly because one of the researchers was the chief of this clinic and one of the psychologists of the therapeutic groups. This article discussed methodological aspects related to the role of the researcher when conducting a qualitative research through a dense ethnography in CEDEQ over four years, with participant observation in two treatment groups for 24 sessions. Additionally, a multiple case and explanatory study was carried on, through individual and 13 open-ended interviews. The following findings will be discussed: 1) the social construction of truth and accuracy of the oral statements; 2) reflexivity, transparency, and familiarity of the researcher with the field; 3) impression management, standardized behavior, and resistance to perform the research. The use of the qualitative method requires the assessment of the researcher’s role. The anthropological eye helped to deal with a delicate theme that was hard to access: drinking during the military working journey. We found out that the organization had an ambivalent position: though the Brazilian Navy created this specialized clinic and allowed this research, at the same time this organization was not open to discuss inebriation on board, strictly authorizing the investigation of the patients. This was possible mainly because of the researcher’s social and hierarchical position as an officer, as the chief of the CEDEQ, and for being one of the therapists of the groups. We concluded that this position created an obstacle to apply effective measures to protect the military contingency.

Cite this paper

Halpern, E. and Leite, L. (2015) The Role of the Researcher When Using the Socio-Anthropological Method to Understand the Phenomenon of Alcoholism. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 3, 76-81. doi: 10.4236/jss.2015.35011.

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