Observation Methods

Participant Observation - The researcher participates in the activities of those he/she is observing.

Covert participation - The Identity of the researcher and purpose of the research are hidden from those who are being observed


Able to gain reliable and valuable date from the group being observed covertly. This doesnt affect individual or group behaviour. Less likely to influnce the group, especially if group members are completely aware of his/her presence.

Researchers have more opportunities for using research aids such as behaviour schedules and notebooks.

Methods such as cameras, disguises

Quantative data


Ethical reseasons such as being watched without knowing. Is this right to study someone without their concent? Time consuming? Money? Is Access always available?

non-participants, researchers have fewer opportuinities for discovering the meanings which direct the actions of those they observe.

As a result, researchers are more likely to impose their own inceptions and meanings onto behaviour observe (O'Connell & Layder, 1994)

Participant Observation

Overt - The identity of the researcher and purpose of the research are made clear to those being studied.


Ethnology - is the study of the way of life of a group of people - their culture and the structure of their society. Researchers believe that "walk a mile" gives the impression to see the participants view in their shoes/world.

Gaining entry - PO cannot work without getting a level of acceptance from its members.

Validity - Offers the chance to discover the what people actually do, the chance to obtain valid data.

Practicality - Po may be only method with any chance of success. some groups are closed to outsiders. Their members reject requests for information. Ect Ciminal activity

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  • Created by: Nick s
  • Created on: 18-05-10 09:47

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