Covert Observation

For many engaging in qualitative research methods, observation plays a pivotal role. The ability to watch and observe participants in their natural environment provides insight that controlled settings cannot afford. However, knowing one is being observed instinctually changes how he or she will communicate and behave. To gain the purest sense of what is happening, researchers often opt to engage in covert observations. Covert observations, also considered going undercover, provide insights and understanding by watching the actions, behaviors, or communication patterns of a group without the knowledge of those being observed that research is being done. Thus, this method provides a more natural understanding of a phenomenon. The use of such a method, however, is also often met with considerable challenges from both instructional ...

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