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essay of participant observation

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Essay on Participant Observation Participant observation is known as a form of subjective sociology as its aim is to understand the social world from the subject's point of view. The method involves allowing the researcher to get to know the group of people being studied by entering their world and participating with their everyday lives and activities. This allows the researcher to experience events in the way the group does, to gain an insight into the world from their perspectives and to gain a better understanding to the meanings and priorities behind the behaviours of that social group. Participant observation can be done in one of two ways. Either through the covet method, which is when the researcher joins the group being studied without informing the members of that group that any form of research is taking place, or the overt method which is when the researcher informs the group that research is taking place and what the research aims are. Each comes with their own advantages and disadvantages. ...read more.


Participant observation has advantages and disadvantage, like all sociology methods. The main advantage is the fact that conducting a participant observation allows us to fully understand why and how people behave but unlike other methods such as questionnaires that only look at the respondents behaviours and attitudes in that moment in time. A participant observation normally takes time over a long period of time, it's a longitudinal study, and it allows us to see how these behaviours, attitudes and opinions change and is affected over time. This could also allow the researcher to extend their ideas of research and allow them to obtain new ideas for further research. A second advantage of participant observation is that it gives the researcher an opportunity to create a close bond with the members of the research group, even if it's just one member. This close bond will be to the researcher's advantage as they can be seen as someone who the group can confine in certain issues or views that would either remain hidden or untold to other members of the group. ...read more.


The observer could be entering the group with a closed mind and already have opinions and ideas as to what they are going to find and the reasons why the findings would happen. This could affect the findings by the researcher only seeing what they wish to see. Another way the researcher could become bias is by becoming to much of a member of the group and only seeing things they way the group does and not allowing outside insights to be taken into effect. The researcher could also implicate the results by influencing the study group, this could be done through either covert or overt methods. If the group is aware of the researcher being their then they may act up and try to give him the results he wishes to obtain or the group could act differently to prove the research aims wrong. Even if the study group in unaware of there being a researcher present among them he could still influence their behaviour by commenting on their daily activities and could possibly talk the group out of committing an activity so that the researcher doesn't have to take part in any morally wrong acts. ...read more.

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