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Lecture 7

CCJS 300 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Participant Observation, Verstehen, Mnemonic

Criminology and Criminal Justice
Course Code
CCJS 300
Alan Lehman

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-Direct observation of human behavior
-Academic field research began in 19th century in Anthropology
-Sociological field research in the U.S. began at UChicago in 1920’s
-Max Weber “Verstehen approach”
-Understand from respondents’ perspective
-From UChicago, 3 principles of research
1.) Study people in their natural settings
2.) Study people by directly interacting with them (try to maintain objectivity)
3.) Make theoretical statements based on group members’ perspectives (aid to theory)
-Field research includes direct observation, participant observation, and case studies
-Field research is also about generating theory
-Often don’t approach the field with precisely defined hypothesis ready for statistical analysis
-Types of social phenomena we want to study:
-Acts (brief action in a setting)
-Meanings (interpretations of group members)
-Activities (actions observed overtime)
-Participation (degree of participation)
-Relationships (who knows who)
-Settings (where are things happening)
-From Hagan: a critique of experiments and survey research
-Verbal reports vs. behavior
-The old attitude vs. behavior issue from psych
-LaPierre study (1934) *5 questions on exam*
-Interested in prejudice/racism and how it affected a Chinese couple
-Travelled with them
-Wrote down contact, info, sent surveys out
-Do you accommodate Chinese people?
-90% No
-Discrepancy between what people did vs. what they reported
-What they would do vs. what they actually do disconnect between attitude and behaviors
-Types of participant observation
-Complete participation: best example- when prophecy fails
-Participant as observer
-Observer as participant
-Complete observation
-Issues in field research and P-O research
-Objectivity in research, how to maintain this?
-If people find out they are being studied:
-Expelling you from group or setting
-Changing speech/behavior toward social norms
-Changing the overall social process itself
-Gong native overidentifying with the group studied
-General Procedures
-Gaining access (gatekeepers)
-Sampling- probably snowball sampling
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