Unit 1b observation CIE syllabus
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Unit 1b observation CIE syllabus

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Unit 1b observation CIE syllabus Unit 1b observation CIE syllabus Presentation Transcript

  • Depends on two key questions: 1. To what extent is the researcher involved? (participant or non-participant) 2. To what extent is the group studied aware that research is taking place? (overt or covert)
  • Useful Website for this topic  www.chrisgardner.cadcol.ac.uk for revision on both e- notes and e-tests  Useful lectures and tests on research methods  (avoid hangman, word search and jigsaws)  Don’t be afraid to go to AS section: most of this is useful for you.
  • Participant observation produces detailed qualitative data. (p.36) It can be: Participant Non-participant Overt Covert (open/ (hidden) known)
  • Observation (p.36-37)  Non-participant observation: researcher is completely separate from the research group (eg using video/ observing behind a one way mirror)  Participant: researcher becomes member of group, joins in action (Observation can take place at any point in a scale from fully non- participant to fully participant.)  Covert observation: group is unaware that research is taking place, research is ‘hidden’, nature of research is not clear to members of group  Overt observation: nature of research is fully explained (‘open’) to group who are aware that they are being researched (Research can be anywhere along a scale between the two: i.e. group may be aware that they are being observed but may believe that the nature of the research is something other than what is actually is.)
  • Read about this (mostly) covert participant observational research in greater detail on page 37 of Blundell
  • Questions on research 1. Define the kind of research Patrick carried out? 2. What problems did Patrick face? 3. Comment on reliability and validity of research. Example of covert participant observation (p.37) ‘A Glasgow Gang observed’ 1960s by James Patrick  Gang leader knows researcher (teacher at time) and invites him onto group to do research  Researcher had to change accent, dress like gang members and try to avoid gang fights, carrying weapons and taking drugs without arousing suspicion  Found it difficult to record everything accurately (rely on memory)  Research records real gang life accurately but is limited to one gang. His account is personal; may not reflect the same results with a different researcher.  Although gang members were violent, potential criminals, Patrick got to ‘understand them’.
  • Participant Observation p.37 Benefits 1. Social life is studied in natural setting therefore more likely to be valid 2. Research reflects group’s point of view rather than researcher’s 3. Researcher can gather rich data 4. Might be only method suitable in case of cults/gangs etc Limitations 1. Difficult to gain entry into/ leave group (eg. gang) 2. Difficult to maintain cover (if covert) 3. Researcher can become too involved (lose objectivity) 4. Difficult to record information accurately (i.e. keep notes/rely on memory) 5. Group may act differently if know they are being observed (less valid) 6. Cannot be replicated easily: this affects reliability.
  • Observation: Ethical Issues Raises the most ethical concerns of any type of research 1. The strength of this type of observation (its about real life situations) is weakened if subject (s) know they are being observed 2. Researcher can disturb/distort behaviour of group (affect validity) 3. Observing people in public places does not/can’t involve their permission (why?) 4. Anonymity should be maintained (no names mentioned) 5. Ethical problem: researcher may observe deviant/criminal behaviour but not report it (this may seem the right thing to do but may risk future research)
  • Task: You want to research the following things. Which type of observation would be best? Why? 1. How students use computers in the IT laboratory in schools 2. Teacher-pupil interaction in classrooms between the different form class groups 3. Interaction between the sexes in shopping malls 4. Integration among different nationalities in the playground 5. Observing a deviant sub-culture in school 6. Teachers’ attitudes towards different ethnic groups
  • Strengths and limitations of participant observation Copy out and complete the following table. Try to include 2 or more points under each heading. Strengths of overt participant observation Limitations of overt participant observation Strengths of covert participant observation Limitations of covert participant observation
  • Strengths and limitations of participant observation Copy out and complete the following table. Try to include 1-2 or more points under each heading Strengths of overt participant observation •Researcher able to be honest with group Limitations of overt participant observation •Researcher’s presence may affect/influence behaviour Strengths of covert participant observation •May be only way to gather knowledge on illegal activity •Not knowing they are being observed avoids ‘observer effect’ Limitations of covert participant observation •May not ask too many questions in case they ‘blow their cover’ •People being observed have not given consent-deceptive
  • Questions H.W.  Explain the differences between participant and non- participant observation?  Explain why you might find it difficult to record your observations while being a participant observer?  Describe what kind of data participant observation produces and explain how might this be valuable to researchers?  You want to study female attitudes in Arab countries towards all aspects of family life. What are your considerations and concerns as a researcher?