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5. Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Participant Observation DeMUNCK and SOBO (1998) provide several advantages of using participant observation over other methods of data collection. These include that it affords access to the "backstage culture" (p.43); it allows for richly detailed description, which they interpret to mean that one's goal of describing "behaviors, intentions, situations, and events as understood by one's informants" is highlighted (p.43); and it provides opportunities for viewing or participating in unscheduled events. DeWALT and DeWALT (2002) add that it improves the quality of data collection and interpretation and facilitates the development of new research questions or hypotheses (p.8). [13] DeMUNCK and SOBO…show more content…
Some of the reasons they mention for a researcher's not being included in activities include a lack of trust, the community's discomfort with having an outsider there, potential danger to either the community or the researcher, and the community's lack of funds to further support the researcher in the research. Some of the ways the researcher might be excluded include the community members' use of a language that is unfamiliar to the researcher, their changing from one language to another that is not understood by the researcher, their changing the subject when the researcher arrives, their refusal to answer certain questions, their moving away from the researcher to talk out of ear shot, or their failure to invite the researcher to social events. [17] SCHENSUL, SCHENSUL, and LeCOMPTE further point out that all researchers should expect to experience a feeling of having been excluded at some point in the research process, particularly in the beginning. The important thing, they note, is for the researcher to recognize what that exclusion means to the research process and that, after the researcher has been in the community for a while, the community is likely to have accepted the researcher to some degree. [18] Another limitation involved in conducting observations is noted by DeWALT, DeWALT, and WAYLAND (1998). The researcher must determine to what
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