Revision notes emphasising the PRACTICAL, ETHICAL and THEORETICAL aspects of key methods



  • ACCESS TO SAMPLE - getting in is based on deception, staying in requires keeping up with the lifestyle of the group to maintain cover, getting out may be as the researcher chooses or may be due to their clover 'being blown'
  • TIME - more time consuming as it's primary compared to secondary and qualitative compared to quantitative
  • COST - relatively more costly due to time and needing to maintain cover
  • PERSONAL SAFETY - a much bigger concern than other methods, especially if the group being researched is criminal
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  • CONSENT - is not informed, access is obtained by deception
  • HARM - possible if involved in illegal activites
  • CONFIDENTIALITY and ANONYMITY of sample members, easily maintained - but there could be an ethical dilema if the researcher becomes aware of
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  • the qualitative purpose is to get as full an account as is possible of the lifestyle of the group, their values - beliefs and actions that go with them
  • to discover roles played, how interactions are interpreted
  • KEY WORDS - to understand and use authenticity, verstehen, validity
  • Favoured by Anti-Positivists
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EXAMPLES - of course you can use any from your resources, consider using:

  • Patrick - Glasgow Gang
  • Humphreys - TeaRoom Trade
  • Daly - Secret Policeman
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