The purpose of this article is to point out the various dilemmas related to the role played by participant observation in anthropological research practices. The author makes reference to the wide-ranging discussion on the usefulness of this method, disagreeing with the trends that question it. He observes the phenomenon of redefining methodological directives regarding participant observation in order to adjust the latter to the new conditions of conducting research. The text, which repeatedly alludes to the theoretical debate on the identity of social anthropology, includes a brief description of the methods of participant observation as well as of possible areas and mechanisms of changing it. The author, referring to his own research findings, considers the method's usefulness in terms of anthropological cognition, with special emphasis on the researcher-informant relationship.