POLSCI 2NN3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Focus Group, Participant Observation, The Focus Group

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Interviews is one of the only ways where information comes directly from the participant. It"s not based on another person"s analysis or interpretation. Unlike in participant observation, where you"re watching what"s happening and analyzing it yourself, interviews do not have a degree of self-interpretation embedded in them. Interviews are generally considered a primary source because of this. Interview research usually requires approval from an ethics board because it involves human subjects (interviewees) It is increasingly the norm that interviewees are treated as confidential informants. This allows researchers to obtain information but protect the identify of the informants. It"s largely only when we talk about elite interviewing (people who are established pubic figures) where we"re not really considering them to be confidential. Gathers eyewitness accounts from individuals directly involved in the social or political process. Can allow a researcher to gain insider knowledge of a process that is not publicly observable and may not be fully documented.

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