ABSTRACT

The major methodological strategy of this study is qualitative sociological research. Qualitative research usually involves techniques such as participant observation, interviewing, life histories, unobtrusive measures, and document analysis for data collection as well as qualitative (rather than quantitative) analysis. This type of research has been a major method of data collection for studies in the interactionist tradition. There is a well-established tradition of qualitative research both in the study of deviance (e.g., Becker 1963; Douglas 1972; Goffman 1961; Humphreys 1970; Polsky 1967) and in the study of medicine (e.g., Daniels 1970; Roth 1963; Scheff 1966; Sudnow 1967). This study is a continuation of that tradition.