Scientific Method and Participant Observation Observer

Topics: Scientific method, Observation, Sociology Pages: 5 (937 words) Published: April 6, 2013
Holly. Anubhav. Patrick

Origins of Field Research

Ethnographic field work: The study of native cultures by learning the native language, observing and taking part in native life, originated with founders of modern anthropology.

The social reform tradition of sociology is another major source of modern field research . In the late nineteenth century, as social reformers and sociologists turned first to social surveys and then to a more varied methodology based primarily on field observation.

What is field observation?
Ethnographic research offers an orientation to understand the process and structure of a social setting and employs research techniques consistent with this orientation. It is the study of both explicit and tacit cultural knowledge. Observing user in the field is always the best way to determine their usability requirement.

Other Characteristics
Focus on community and ethnic groups To know immediate impact of an event, and aspects of everyday life. To get a inside view of reality Focus on person & the setting

Qualitative & Quantitative
Because qualitative data typically involves words and quantitative data involves numbers. In quantitative research(deductive), the researcher is ideally an objective observer who neither participates in nor influences what is being studied. In qualitative research(inductive), however,the researcher can learn the most by participating and/or being immersed in a research situation. Choices about which approach to use may reflect the interests of those conducting or benefiting from the research and the purposes for which the findings will be applied. Decisions about which kind of research method to use may also based on the researcher's own experience and preference, the population being researched, the proposed audience for findings, time, money and other resources available.

Field Observation & Scientific Observation

Casual & everyday, Direct observation, unaided by any instruments Natural setting Less structured & less systematic

Planned methodology Direct & indirect observation Laboratory contrived situation Structured & systematic

When do we use it?
To study a dynamics situation To preserve the interrelationship of the person & situation Methodological problems, resources, or ethics preclude the adoption of other research strategic Lack of knowledge about the topic

Types of Observation
Participant vs Non-participant observation Structured vs Unstructured observation

Non Participant Observation
Observer is an eavesdropper Someone who attempts to observe people without interacting with them Without their knowledge that they are being observed Used most routinely by psychologists studying children and animals.

Participant Observation
Observer participates actively, for an extended period of time May require observer to live or work in that area Assumes that observer will become accepted member of the group or community Historically field research has been associated most strongly with participant observation.

Levels of participation
Both types of observation are poles of a continuum. At one extreme is he participant observer who becomes completely absorbed in the group under observation At the other is the non-participant who tries to remain aloof from it.

Unstructured Observation
Early phase of the research May become specific to when and where to observe, what specific aspects of the setting or behavior to observe, and how to make and record observations.

How to do unstructured observation
Take a notebook and pen Note down when you see something interesting. Write down theories as you form them. Don’t jump to conclusions straight away. Look for more evidence. Ask people to confirm things

Structured Observation
Greater control of sampling Measurement of error Permits stronger generalizations and checks on reliability and validity This is more like a survey, where every respondent...
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