4. Discuss the
different types of roles and sociological relationships involved in participant observation
1. How does the
methodology of participant observation influence the development of sociological theory
3. Outline and discuss the
social skills needed for participant observation
6. Outline and discuss the
relationship between sociological theory and participant observation
2. Outline and discuss the
characteristics of an interpretive sociology
. Discuss the implications of these
characteristics for sociological research.
5. How do the
"thinking topics" of Lofland et al.
help us to analyze the data of field work
? In your answer,
refer to the topics and to the aspects of the topics
7. Outline and discuss the
process of "asking questions" as presented by Lofland et al.. How do we generate
interest in the research process?
8. Outline and discuss the
role of ethics in sociological research
How do ethical considerations influence the
conduct of sociological research?
POSSIBLE ANSWERS -------- OTHER NOTES NOT FROM TEXT & FROM
Participant Observation is the process in which an investigator establishes and sustains a versatile and
situationally appropriate relationship with a human association in its natural setting for the purpose of
developing a social scientific understanding of that group.
Participant observation is a qualitative method with roots in traditional ethnographic research, whose objective
is to help researchers learn the perspectives held by the study of populations. Qualitative researchers presume
that there will be multiple perspectives within any given community. They are interested both in knowing what
those diverse perspectives are and in understanding the interaction between them.
Qualitative methods of data
collection, such as interviewing, observation, and document analysis, have been included under the term
ethnographic research over time.
The process of participant observation requires the researcher to become involved as a participant in a
setting and make descriptive observations of oneself, of others, and of the setting. The extent to which the
researcher becomes involved needs to be made specific. The degree of involvement both with people and in the
activities, will change considerably between researchers and between events, and the researcher must decide on
the extent of participation.
The method of participation observation is distinctive because the researcher approaches participants in their
own environment rather than having the participants come to the researcher. Generally speaking, the researcher
engaged in participant observation tries to learn what life is like for an “insider” while remaining, inevitably, an
“outsider.” A thorough understanding of participant observation in event settings requires researchers to
consider their position and role in the research. By attending the event even as a passive spectator, the