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A History of Modern Psychology
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Chapter 12 / Exercise 17
A History of Modern Psychology
Schultz/Schultz
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POSSIBLE ANSWERS -------- OTHER NOTES NOT FROM TEXT & FROM Participant Observation The process of participant observation requires the researcher to become involved as a participant in a social setting and make descriptive observations of him/herself, of others, and of the setting. The extent to which the researcher becomes involved needs to be made explicit. The degree of involvement both with people and in the activities, will vary considerably between researchers and between events, and the researcher must decide on the extent of participation. Participant observation is a qualitative method with roots in traditional ethnographic research, whose objective is to help researchers learn the perspectives held by study populations. As qualitative researchers, we presume that there will be multiple perspectives within any given community. We are interested both in knowing what those diverse perspectives are and in understanding the interplay among them. The method 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.” Qualitative methods of data collection, such as interviewing, observation, and document analysis, have been included under the umbrella term of "ethnographic methods" in recent years. The general strengths of participant observation are the fact that is it very flexible as a research method and it provides a high quality level and depth of information which it provides. It also offers a greater understanding of the societies it studies and encourages opportunity for empathy.
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A History of Modern Psychology
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Chapter 12 / Exercise 17
A History of Modern Psychology
Schultz/Schultz
Expert Verified
The general limitations of participant observation are the fact that there is a high level of participation required which can cost a lot and take up a lot of time. Also the researcher must have a high level of skill in order to be capable of carrying out the research. There are two types of participant observation; Overt and Covert. o Overt: Researcher to be open with the group who they are studying, the society is aware that they are being researched bc the one researching them has informed them. the group is co-operative with the researcher, but disadvantages in that those being studied may suffer from the Hawthorne affect (where people act differently when they know they’re being watched). This could have a negative impact on the results gained from the research. o Covert: This version involves the researcher analyzing the group without them knowing that they are being researched. It is carried out “secretly”. This method has advantages in that the research is probably more accurate but a disadvantage would be that they have to balance both roles of participant and researcher.

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