Are You an Expert on Participant Observation?

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By jwblackwell



9 Questions

What is participant observation?

Who first coined the term participant observation?

Which of the following is NOT a method used in participant observation?

What is the duration of traditional participant observation?

What are the four stages that most participant observation research studies go through?

What is the ethical concern of participant observation?

Which disciplines use participant observation?

What is the purpose of participant observation?

What is the role of self-analysis in participant observation?


Participant observation is a qualitative research and ethnographic data collection method that is employed in many disciplines, particularly anthropology, sociology, communication studies, human geography, and social psychology. The method aims to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given group of individuals and their practices through an intensive involvement with people in their cultural environment, usually over an extended period of time. The concept of participant observation was first coined in 1924 by Eduard C. Lindeman, an American pioneer in adult education. It was later popularized by Bronisław Malinowski and his students in Britain, the students of Franz Boas in the United States, and the students of the Chicago school of sociology. The method involves a range of methods such as informal interviews, direct observation, participation in the life of the group, collective discussions, analyses of personal documents produced within the group, self-analysis, online activities, and life-histories. Traditional participant observation is usually undertaken over an extended period of time, ranging from several months to many years. The four stages that most participant observation research studies are establishing rapport or getting to know the people, immersing oneself in the field, recording data and observations, and consolidating the information gathered. Participant observation is not simply showing up at a site and writing things down; it is a complex method that has many components. The presence of the researcher in the field may influence the participants' behavior, causing the participants to behave differently than they would without the presence of the observer. There is an ethical concern of informed consent and voluntary participation in participant observation. The American Anthropological Association (AAA) and American Sociological Association (ASA) both have comprehensive statements concerning the code of conduct for research.


Test your knowledge on participant observation as a research method with our quiz! From the history and pioneers of the method to the various techniques and stages involved, this quiz will challenge your understanding of participant observation. Sharpen your skills in analyzing personal documents, conducting interviews, and immersing oneself in the cultural environment. Get ready to navigate the ethical concerns and code of conduct for research as well. Take the quiz now to see how much you know about participant observation!

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