Observations

  • Created by: edolling
  • Created on: 17-04-19 21:20
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  • Observations
    • There are 4 types of observations:
      • Overt - This where everybody is aware that the observation is taking place. In the lesson observation example, the observer might introduce themselves, or it will be very obvious from where they are sitting and what they are doing that they are observing.
      • Covert - This is where the researcher is undercover. The people being observed are not aware that the observation is taking place. Continuing the lesson observation example, here one of the students might secretly be observing or else CCTV might be used. I am not aware of any school using covert methods fro lesson observations.
      • Participant - is where the researcher plays an active part in what is being observed. If we use the example of a lesson observation in school, a PO would be one where the observer completed the activities, answered questioned and joined the discussion
      • Non-Participant -  Is where an observer simply watches without taking part. In the lesson observation example, they might sit on a seperate desk with a good view of the whole room or not take part at all.
      • Combination of these are all used.
      • Observations can produce quantitative. However, they are most often used to produce qualitative data.
    • The reliability and validity varies according to the type of observation being used, they are usually more valid than reliable. Elton Mayo used a overt, non-participant observation which workers productivity was observed against a number of variable, most interesting was conclusion which did not link to the variable at all.
      • Because of this the phenomenon the subjects studied behaved differently due to the HAWTHORNE EFFECT, to avoid it use covert observations so people aren't aware they are being studied, an advantage is high validity.
      • Ethnography is the study of culture, they want to achieve VERSTEHEN to really understand how their subject view and understand behaviour and interactions. It wants to understand habits than a certain group.
      • A disadvantage is that participating changes what is being observed. It gives valid data that can be undermined by the idea that what's being observed may be different from what happened without the researcher present.
    • Representativeness is nest as a weakness for observations . Each one is unique and social cannot be generalised to the whole population. Researchers do not try to produce a representative sample to study.
    • Practical issues, it is time consuming, some take months or years. Time is also money, `funding bodies considering research proposals do not want to wait years for publishable results. So observations might be rejected as a research method.
      • Practical issues of gaining access to the group or situation. For overt observations there are gatekeepers who need to be negotiated with.
      • Covert observations three practical issues - getting in, staying in, getting out.
    • Ethical Issues, covert raise many of them. If people are unaware they are objects they have not given informed consent. Ordinarily deception is required to gain access, there is a risk of illegal or dangerous activities - can also cause harm to those involved.
      • The tearoom trade is an example of the study.
      • Overt observations is most ethical it requires not deception and participates can give informed consent
    • Observations are likely to be used by Interpretivists than Positivists, but this is not always true. can generate quantitative data and might appeal to Positivists . But most provide qualitative an d give Verstehen or empathy. This is what Interpretivistslook for. Except a specific and unusual form of observation they would be rejected by positivists and embraced by interpretivists

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