Pratical issues of participant observations

A list of some pratical issues that effect participant observations.

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  • Created by: Sian
  • Created on: 09-03-13 14:46
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  • Practical issues
    • insite
      • A good way to understand from the group/individuals point of view
        • self experience
      • understanding things the way others of the group do.
        • self experience
      • rich, detailed, qualitative  data
    • Access
      • Sometimes P.O is the only way of accessing certain situations
        • e.g. Gangs and cults
          • Groups or individuals who are part of deviant activities = suspicious of outsiders
      • Groups or individuals who are part of deviant activities = suspicious of outsiders
      • The group unknowing about the observation may be the only way to uncover the real actions
        • more willing to share with those who share their way of life
      • Limmitations
        • Wouldn't work/be able to access all groups
          • E.g. Powerful ones
        • Recording information in a covet observation will be hard
        • lots of data collected, hard to analyse it all
        • Time consuming
        • Training needed for most situations
        • Unethical
          • No consent often
          • Can't back out as they don't know about the study.
        • Certain skills are needed and not everyone has these
        • Possible to get too carried away
          • Subjective and biased
      • Flexibility
        • Open minded
          • Change hypothesis and ask more questions than possible with other methods
        • "I learnt answers to questions that I would not have had the sense to ask if I had been using other methods" - (Whyte)


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