Participant-Observer

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  • A person observing while participating in a qualitative research study. A participant-observer will live with or become a part of the social group or phenomenon he or she is studying to gain a full understanding of what is being studied. It is important that the participant-observer maintain a balance between the two terms participant and observer to maintain his or her observer status. This will allow the researcher to analyze what is being studied while minimizing bias. Critics note the large potential for bias, not only in observations but also in the way terms are defined and concepts are described. Proponents argue that there is no more bias in this method then there is in a qualitative research survey. For public administrators, participant observation can ...

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