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Exploratory Research Essay

1956 words - 8 pages

Exploring Research Methods

Introduction

This paper is a compilation of eight questions regarding various types of research and observation techniques that will likely be necessary to create a dissertation. Explanations will be given on such topics as naturalistic observation, coding, non-participant and participant observation, archival research, content analysis and other topics as well. Finally, this paper will provide actual real world examples for many of these topics.

What is naturalistic observation? How does a researcher collect data when conducting naturalistic observation research?
Naturalistic observation is a type of research that involves observation that does not allow ...view middle of the document...

This is due to the more obtrusive nature of a survey (Grove & Fisk, 1992). Some of the distinguishing features of observational research include the fact that (1) observations should be made by humans rather than by a mechanical device (2) directness of this type of research lends itself to the use of a qualitative process, and (3) subjects are less aware that they are being observed, since the researcher simply takes notes in many instances, such as that associated with naturalistic observation in particular (Grove & Fisk, 1992). In other words, naturalistic observation, and observational research in general, lends itself to the qualitative rather than the quantitative approach because the researcher does not want to influence the process, therefore contaminating the data.
Another source states that a strong case can be made for the qualitative research approach, as the researcher in the instance of naturalistic observation, maintains “empathic neutrality.” (Hoepfl, 1997, p. 1). In other words, the researcher should not have preconceived ideas that he injects into the process when taking notes. This same source states that naturalistic observation lends itself to the qualitative research process due to the need to understand phenomena in “context-specific settings” (Hoepfl, 1997, p. 1). In other words, where the research takes place is very important, as it should take place in a setting that is normally the place where the individuals being observed consumes a given product. Also, it is felt that some researchers will gravitate toward this style of research due to the fact that it does not require statistical analysis, but this style of research is considered very powerful in instances where naturalistic observation occurs, and definitely has a place in today’s world of research techniques.
Distinguish between participant and non-participant observation; between concealed and non-concealed observation
A non-participant observation refers to observation in which the observer is not actively involved in the process that is taking place. (Cozby & Bates, 2012). This is in contrast to the participant observation role in which the observer has an active insider role (Cozby & Bates, 2012). This definition is corroborated by the fact that researchers that are participants play an established participatory role in the scene being studied (Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994). This same source states that, in reality, all social research is participatory as one cannot study social relationships without being a part of them (Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994). In other words, in most cases, the researcher will be involved to at least some degree in the observation process. Also, it is likely that researchers naturally gravitate personally to the process of observation rather than approaching observation from a purely technical or scientific vantage point (Atkinson & Hammersley, 1994). In addition, it is felt that researchers naturally take a...

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