ISS_225_Lec_2_Scientific_Method

There are both advantages and disadvantages

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There are both advantages and disadvantages associated with participant observation. The advantages are associated with (1) giving the observer access to situations in which a formal, detached observation would not be welcomed and (2) through participation, giving the researcher a firsthand sense of the quality of the experience, what it feels like to be in that situation. However, there are important potential disadvantages as well: (1) the observer may, through their actions, change the situation in important ways and (2) through active participation, the observer may lose the capacity to be objective. – Feel an emotional connection. 4. Ethnography – Anthropology (see textbook, p. 35) 10
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ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange Scientific Method Paul D. Leedy : "In ethnography, the researcher looks at an entire group-more specifically, a group that shares a common culture -in depth. The researcher studies the group in its natural setting for a lengthy period of time, often several months or even years. The focus ... is on the everyday behaviors of the people in the group, with intent to identify cultural norms, beliefs, social structures, and other cultural patterns." Features of Ethnography: Feature Description Ethnography is naturalistic. Studies should be of real people in real situations Ethnography is prolonged. Ethnographers don't have a clear idea of what they will find (and they shouldn't because they are trained not to judge); so all aspects of the system must be examined, thus introducing a lot of duplication or similarity of data. It takes time to form a coherent view of what is going on, especially for a complex system. Ethnographers look at the world from the point of view of those in it. (the real end-users) The behavior itself is not the appropriate level of analysis; it is the significance of the behavior. The purpose of ethnography is to describe and analyze how the social organization of work activities is accomplished. Ethnographic data resists formalization. The data stresses the importance of context/setting; so there is no "right" data to collect. Data can include: general description of behavior; description of physical layout; description of conversations; non-judgmental thoughts on what is happening; examples; and repeated occurrences. Hard data (numbers) become less important Due to the many forms of data, it is difficult to consolidate data into an "essential" form. source: http://pages.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/~saul/681/1997/amy/ethnography.html F. Case studies vs. Comparative Studies (see textbook, p. 35) 11
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ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange Scientific Method Case studies make a detailed examination and analysis of a particular issue or problem situation. (ethnography is a case study) A political scientist might want to study the political party system in Botswana. He/she may conduct surveys in Botswana, interviews, look at voting patterns, policy, leadership, party ideology, etc.
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