Participant Observation Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Created by: Megnicpip
  • Created on: 18-02-18 20:00
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  • Participant Observation
    • Advantages
      • Validity: Obtain richer data by seeing it. What people say they do and what they actually do are entirely different
      • Flexibility: can change direction and make follow ups, open-minded and explanations can be formulated
      • Insight: creates uniquely valid, authentic data, allows researcher to gain empathy through personal experience
      • Practical Advantages
        • Can build a rapport therefore gain trust
        • Questioning can be ineffective
          • Cicourel: joined police to understand assumptions when categorising juveniles
    • Disadvantages
      • Ethical problems; covert involves decievement and may involve illegal activities
      • Practical Problems
        • Time
        • Many groups ,may not wish to be studied
        • Interpersonal skills
        • Personally stressful and demanding
      • Representativeness: small scale
      • Bias and Validity
        • Risk going native and having divided loyalties
        • Hawthorne effect
        • too detached or too sympathetic
        • ignores wider structural forces
      • Reliability
        • Whyte: his method was to some extent unique to him alone
        • characteristics reliable so highly unlikely to be able to replicate
        • qualitative data


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