Sociology Homework; Assess the strength and weakness of using Covert Participation to investigate violent crimes.
DAT: Covert participation is a type of observation whereby the researcher is involved within the gangs acts as they are hiding the fact that they are a researcher. This type of observation is most likely to produce qualitative data even though it is hard to record information the moment it happens. However it will still produce qualitative data as when the researchers get the chance to record down data they will note it down in detail. Furthermore, it can also produce quantitative data as if the researcher notes down the amount of times e.g. a burglary occurs then this would be numerical data and therefore quantitative. An example of a researcher who done participant observation with a gang called the Black Kings was Venkatesh and he was able to collect quantitative data as it was an account book of what the gang had been up to. However the production of quantitative data is not as likely as the production of qualitative data. This topic of investigation can be seen as a sensitive topic as it is based on groups who are involved in violent crimes which suggests many problems can occur which can affect the researcher.
A : A practical disadvantage of using covert participation is that the group in which may be of interest may be hard to ‘get in’ to. It is not likely that for example a gang who focuses on violent crimes will allow another member to join them. Although this is a problem which will be faced, sometimes using participant observation can be the only way to study certain groups. This is because a deviant group will not appreciate a researcher wanting to study them but is more likely to accept a member who is taking the same route as them. CAGE: Another practical disadvantage comes along with the researchers CAGE. This is because it can put forward a restriction in which groups they are able to study. For example if a...
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