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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - Observational Research
Lecture 7 - Observational Research
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School
University of Ottawa
Department
Political Science
Course
POL2156
Professor
Stephanie Mullen
Semester
Fall

Description
Oct. 30, 2013 Advantages of Observation Research  Participant observation is useful for gaining an understanding of the: -physical, social, cultural, and economic contexts in which study participants live -the relationships among and between people, contexts, ideas, norms, and events; -people’s behaviors and activities – what they do, how frequently, and with whom.  Enables researchers to develop a familiarity with the cultural milieu  Data obtained through participant observation serves as a check against participants’ subjective reporting of what they believe and do  Researchers can uncover factors important for a thorough understanding o the research problem that were unknown when the study was designed  What we learn from participants observation can help us: -understand data collected through other methods (such as interviews, focus groups, and quantitative research methods -design questions for those methods that will give us the best understanding of the phenomenon being studied Using Observational Research Before Other Research Methods  Participant observation may be done prior to other data collection, as well as simlultaneously with other methods and during data analysis.  For example, researchers might follow p on mention of a neighborhood with high immigrant population by going there to do structured observation  Or, they might consult previously collected data that detail interactions between men and women in a public space, in order to shed light on a male focus group discussion about how men met their partners.  Frequent consultation of participant observation data throughout a study can inform instrument design, save time, and prevent mistakes.  Researchers might consult previously collected data that detail interactions between men and women in a public space, in order to shed light on a male focus group discussion about how men met their partners.  Frequent consultation of participant observation data throughout a study can inform instrument design, save time, and prevent mistakes.  In applied research, participant observation is almost always used with other qualitative methods, such as interviews and focus groups. It is an integral part of the research process – that is, the back-and-forth revising and refining – in several ways:  At the beginning stages of a research project; participant observation is used to facilitate and develop positive relationships among researchers and key informants, stakeholders, and gatekeepers, whose assistance and approval are needed for the study to become a reality.  ….. Qualitative Research Methods (1) Elite Interviews (2) Interviews (3) In-depth Elite Interviews  The term
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