ISS_225_Lec_2_Scientific_Method

E field research observation anthropologists and

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E. Field Research (observation) Anthropologists and sociologists 9
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ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange Scientific Method 1. 1. Direct Observation People know that you are watching them. People know that you are watching them. One danger is that they are One danger is that they are reacting reacting to you. to you. Another danger is that the sample of individuals may not be representative of the Another danger is that the sample of individuals may not be representative of the population or the behaviors observed are not representative of the individual. population or the behaviors observed are not representative of the individual. Long-term observational studies will usually overcome both problems. Long-term observational studies will usually overcome both problems. In a sense reality shows are like direct observation – Survivor, Apprentice, In a sense reality shows are like direct observation – Survivor, Apprentice, Biggest Loser Biggest Loser 2. 2. Unobtrusive Observation Unobtrusive Observation Here you know people are not reacting to you as the observer. Here you know people are not reacting to you as the observer. Individuals do NOT know they are being observed. (Candid Camera) Individuals do NOT know they are being observed. (Candid Camera) Numerous observations of a representative sample need to take place in order to Numerous observations of a representative sample need to take place in order to generalize the findings. generalize the findings. Replication is difficult when using unobtrusive observation. Can’t observe same Replication is difficult when using unobtrusive observation. Can’t observe same thing twice. thing twice. The main problem with unobtrusive measures is ethical. [Study sexual practices, The main problem with unobtrusive measures is ethical. [Study sexual practices, invading the privacy of the subject.] invading the privacy of the subject.] The researcher may want to investigate a behavioral event that doesn't occur very often or one that requires a very specific set of factors in place for it to occur. For example, psychologists have been interested in studying people's reactions to witnessing a crime. Obviously, it would be very difficult to study this using naturalistic observation. To expedite the collection of data, psychologists have staged minor crimes, with naive subjects present, and then assessed their responses. This may present ethical issues. 3. Participant observation A special category of observational studies is that which the observer is also an active participant in the situation being observed. For example, if you are studying college parties using participant observation, you actually go to many parties, observe and talk to people. Sometimes participant observations are "disguised", so that others don't know the observations are being made, and sometimes they are "undisguised".
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