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Advantages and disadvantages of covert observation

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on 25 January 2016

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Transcript of Advantages and disadvantages of covert observation

Advantages and disadvantages of covert observation
Disadvantages of covert observation
Could be seen as unethical- lack of consent and trust issues
If the reporter is uncovered then the whole research could be ruined
This type of research is hard to sustain over long periods of time
Recording changes in behaviour/ recording general behaviour is difficult without raising suspicion

Conclusion
In my opinion, covert observations are a good option to use when carrying out observations, as they provide a valid view of the group being studied and avoid issues of demand characteristics. Although, it could be argued that the ethical issues involved render this method less effective I believe that they would be able to be overcome if the researcher ensures that they fully debrief the participants once the reasearch has been carried out.
What is covert observation?
The researcher will become a part of the group and be a 'participant' in the research.
Advantages of covert observation
It does not disturb the normal behaviour of the group so there is higher validity
It allows the observer to dig deeper into the groups' behaviour
It gives access to certain secret behavior of the group
Interviewer bias can be avoided
No prior knowledge of social incidence is required
No risk of Hawthorne affect taking place


Examples
James Patrick, 1973, published a research report called A Glasgow gang observed
Jay Dobyns- Hells Angels
Mark Kennedy- Undercover Police Officer
Examples
Bandura- Bobo doll study
Laud Humphries- Tea Room Trade
Covert observation is a particular type of participant observation in which the identity of the researcher, the nature of the research project, and the fact that participants are being observed are concealed from those who are being studied.
By Melody Ayandokun and Daisy Tomlinson
Full transcript