Covert Observation: Court Proceedings

Strengths and limitations of Covert Observation to study court proceedings

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Strengths

-It may be the only method of accessing certain aspects of the judicial process.

- It allows valid data to be gained about a private profession, lawyers can be unwilling to be researched overtly.

- There is no Hawthorne effect.

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Limitations

- Still would not be able to access all the places in court, such as Judge's chambers.

- Unable to ask follow up questions or for clarification.

- Very time-consuming, trials can be hugely lengthy.

-Use of legal jargon which may not be understood by the researcher.

- Training would be nessesary to discover inner workings of judicial system.

- Some procedures are private for a reason, especially cases involving children, this could cause ethical issues including breach of privacy and deception.

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Improvement of Method

- May be able to follow up on cases being studied via use of official statistics and document analysis(newspaper articles).

-Use of triangulation may improve validity.

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