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Advantages and disadvantages of covert and overt participation
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Outline and explain the advantages and disadvantages of covert and overt roles in participant observation
Participant observation refers to a form of sociological research methodology in which the researcher takes on a role in the social situation under observation.
Covert observation involves the researcher fully participating in the activities of the social group without informing them, thus the research is carried out secretly. The researcher could gain access into the group through contact with a gatekeeper who would introduce him or her to the group. Overt participation on the other hand is when the researcher is open about the purpose of his presence and is given permission to perform this research by the person in the highest state of authority.
Covert participant observation means that the researcher may gain access into social groups who would otherwise not consent to being studied. R. Burgess Study of city Technology College allowed him to have empathy i.e. to discover the nature of social reality by understanding the school children's behaviour thus adding more validity to his work. This type of research is termed to be much naturalistic since it aims to discover the nature of the interviewee or sample being
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