The difference in observations and both advantages and disadvantages of observations

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  • Created by: Amira
  • Created on: 13-05-12 16:02

Overt= researcher is open about his presence in the research.

Covert= researcher is kept hidden in the research.

Participant: sociologists join a group of people and study their behaviour.


ü  Allow researcher to join the group and see things through the eyes of people.

ü  Get the truth as researcher can see participants in action.

ü  Can create a lose bond between researcher and group/individuals- they may be prepared to confide in researcher.


v  Bias- researcher can easily to drawn into group and see things through their eyes

v  Ethical issues- participants may not like the idea of being watched.

v  Unable to repeat study as participants’’ view may change.

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Non-participant: sociologists draw back from the group and observe them from a distance.


ü  Bias- researcher less likely to be drawn into groups therefore the researchers’ view is less likely to be biased.

ü  Influence- as researcher is not making any decisions or joining in activities the group would be less influenced



v  May leave researcher on the outside and limit their understanding- unreliable.

v  People act differently is they know they are being watched.

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