Health and Social Care Level 3 Btec

Topics: Observation, Scientific method, Sociology Pages: 2 (574 words) Published: January 3, 2013
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess the strengths and limitations of participant observation for the study of gender relations in schools There are many strengths and limitations of participant observation for the study of gender relations in schools. Participant observation means that the sociologist or researcher does not simply observe a group, but is part of it as they play a role in it as well. Participant observation has a wide range of advantages. When observing people, validity is a huge advantage as it can obtain huge amounts of rich, qualitative data. This also helps the observer the get an overview of how people really live. Some supporters of participant observation argue that this is the method’s main strength, however there are many more. The best way for someone to understand what something is like is to experience it first-hand themselves. Sociologists call this personal or subjective understanding, ‘verstehen’, which is a German word meaning ‘empathy’, or an understanding that comes from putting yourself into another person’s position. Participant observation is more flexible than other methods as it allows the sociologist to enter the situation with a relatively open mind about what they will find. A survey method consists of a specific hypothesis which is set along with pre-set question’s, however with participant observations this is more flexible and researchers can ask appropriate questions and do not need to set a hypothesis before is they do not want to. Item A suggests that how male and female pupils and teachers act towards each other has a major effect on pupils’ experiences of education. From my knowledge, I feel this is not true as pupils should take ownership of their own work, despite what teacher they have. On the other hand, a teacher may affect a pupils achievement in school as it is what the teacher teaches the children, and how they do this which refers back to how much the children in the class learn, meaning...
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