FIELD RESEARCH — MEANING AND TYPES

Field research is a sociological research method in which sociologists gather primary data from natural environments without doing any lab experiments.

It is also called observational research because it involves observing the individual in their natural environment.

Field research can be sub-divided into participant and non-participant observation.

Participants observation

Participant observation is a form of observational study in which the researcher actively participates in what he is observing.

In participant observation, the researcher(called participants observer) joins the group and partakes in their routine activity to study them.

The participant-observer might spend days, weeks, or even months studying his subjects.

He may relocate to a new cultural environment to study his subjects.

This kind of research method allows the researcher to immerse himself in a cultural environment.

In this environment, the researcher would be open-minded and ready to record all observations accordingly.

He may not disclose his identity or intent if he feels it would compromise his research result.

Participant observation is used by sociologists when they want to get first-hand and in-depth reports of what usually happens in a particular social environment.

Non-participant observation

This is the direct opposite of participant observation. In this kind of field research, the researcher merely studies his subject in their natural environment. 

And as the name suggests, the non-participant observer does not take an active part in community life.

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