Participant Observation Can, for Purposes of Simplicity, Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Participant observation can, for purposes of simplicity, "be placed on a continuum with 'passive' participant observation at one end of the continuum, and 'active' participant observation at the other" (Burgess, 2003, p.69). These two forms of observer participation give rise to four strategies; complete participant, complete observer, participant-as-observer, and observer-as-participant, which have been better-explained through the scenarios below (Burgess, 2003).

Observations of professional conduct in the classroom by the student author of a course evaluation guide

The complete participant strategy works best in this case; the observer ought to act like a full member of the group and not reveal his research intentions because any suspicions by members of the observed group could lead them to display bias in an attempt to make the evaluation go a certain way.

Observation of retail shoppers by a researcher who is interested in determining customer purchase time by type of goods purchased

The participant-as-observer technique; the investigator reveals his research intentions from the onset, and is therefore, not regarded as a member of the group (Biggemann, 2010). However, as he or she continues to interact with the observed group, his status evolves from being a total stranger to being an accepted categorical member (Biggemann, 2010). This strategy works best in this scenario; first, because the revelation of intentions would not in any way alter the observed group's purchase decisions; and secondly, because such a study would take some period of time and it would be crucial for the investigator to build positive relations with the observed group, because then, the latter would be more willing to open up and probably give the rationale behind their purchase decisions.

Observation of a focus group interview by a client

The observer-as-participant technique would work best, given that this is a rather formal scenario that calls for brevity and is unaccompanied by attempts to build lasting relationships. The investigator would probably pay only one visit to the study group, and gather information using a questionnaire.…

Sources Used in Documents:


Biggemann, S. (2010). Modeling the Structure of Business to Business Relationships. In Woodside, A.G. (Ed.), Organization Culture, Business to Business Relationships, and Interfirm Networks. (pp. 27-178). Bingley: Emerald Publishing Company.

Burgess, R. (2003). Some Role Problems in Field Research. In Burgess, R.G. (Ed.), Field Research: A Sourcebook and Field Manual (pp. 68-74). New York: Routledge.

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