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Observation Research.docx

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Brock University
Communication Studies
Russell Johnston

Observation Research: Uses 1. Examine structure/functions of social formation: learn operations and components from the inside 2. Examine culture of social formation : learn cultural or ideological aspects (ethnography) 3. Examine how structures affect outcomes: watch how product is created, from start to finish If using and one specific social formation as a case study of a larger social phenomenon we have one major assumption: that the selected social formation is representative of all similar formations. Observation Research: Advantages: 1. If working with specific social formation you wish to study (reliability: primary data) 2. Extraordinarily rich source of data; more than any other method, everything you observe, hear, smell is data (reliability: difficult to fake, high level of details.) Observation Research: Disadvantages: 1. Fewer sources/less data collected than surveys (reliability: data may be idiosyncratic) 2. Best conducted by lead researcher; expertise (cost/time: cannot be done quickly) 3. Cannot be used with unwilling/at risk populations (access/ethics: cannot force people to participate) Observations Research: Process: 1. Define the research problem 2. Review the literature 3. 4. Identify research ethics concerns : treatment of human subjects  Ethical considerations: do not place you participants at any risks  Propriety and modesty: treat you participants with dignity and respect  Hodson & Vannini: participants = ferry commuters, risk= revel lax work ethic?  Bloustein: Participants= pub goers, risk = social stigma; reveal vices? 5.1 Design your research program  Focus of study group i. Organization as unit (functionalist) ii. Culture or organization (interpretivist or critical) iii. Outcomes of products ( functionalist or critical)  Time Frame i. Social formation has rhythm and/or calendar ii. Select best time to conduct research iii. Consider specific days, weeks, months, seasons in relation to your specific social formation  Durations i. Social formation has rhythm and or calendar, select length of time to stay in field. Balance their patience, your labor, need for data. Consider:
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