covert observation Participant observation carried out without the explicit awareness and agreement of the social unit being studied. This entails finding some self-explanatory role within the research setting in order to mask the researcher's true purpose. It may be used because research access to the social unit would normally be denied, or to ensure that the researcher's presence does not affect the behaviour of those being observed. Examples include Laud Humphries's covert observations of homosexual encounters (Tearoom Trade, 1970), and Leon Festinger and his colleagues, who observed a religious cult by pretending to become adherents to its beliefs (When Prophecy Fails, 1956). The method raises serious ethical problems. Martin Bulmer's Social Research Ethics (1982) examines the merits and dilemmas of covert participant observation, as illustrated by a variety of well-known American and British studies. See also RESEARCH ETHICS.
More From encyclopedia.com
Participant Observation , participant observation A major research strategy which aims to gain a close and intimate familiarity with a given area of study (such as a religious… observe , ob·serve / əbˈzərv/ • v. [tr.] 1. notice or perceive (something) and register it as being significant: young people observe that decisions are made b… Observation , The term “case study” comes from the tradition of medical and psychological research, where it refers to a detailed analysis of an individual case th… Infant Observation , Infant Observation (Direct) The direct observation of babies is a way of learning about the developing human mind. In "The Psychogenesis of a Case of… Qualitative Methods , Research methods that emphasize detailed, personal descriptions of phenomena. Research psychologists can collect two kinds of information: quantitati… Methodology , The term methodology may be defined in at least three ways: (1) a body of rules and postulates that are employed by researchers in a discipline of st…
About this article
Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article
You Might Also Like