A Qualitative Methodological Approach Through Field Research

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Research in social science allows us to formulate and seek answers about the real world (Singleton and Straits, 2010, p. 1). William Whyte’s study can be described as a qualitative methodological approach conducting observations through field research. A qualitative methodological approach relies on observations rather than quantifiable evidence such as numbers and statistical analysis. Whyte initially hypothesizes that there is a correlation where the Sun plays a factor on where people decide to sit or not to sit. Whyte’s team, the Street Light Project, installed cameras with a time-lapse coverage of a cross-section of spaces consisting of 14 plazas and 3 small parks. The main technique employed was simple and direct observation. The entities under study are referred to in social research as units of analysis (Singleton and Straits, 2010, p. 81). Entities can range from individual, groups, organization, objects or events. In the film, Whyte observes plazas, play areas, parks and open spaces in New York City. The explanatory variables that were present in Whyte’s study were dependent and independent. Whyte’s dependent variables were where people sat and people’s activities throughout the day. Whyte’s independent variables were temperature and time of day. This information gave Whyte the foresight on why some public spaces work and why others do not. Sociability was a determinant factor because it illustrated the popularity of a plaza by the high proportion of people that
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