Participant Observation and Field Research

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In field research, it is important to remember that an observer may play various roles. For example, a researcher who plays the role of a full participant is a genuine participant in what they are studying, and this can have a direct effect on ethical issues. A researcher can also be what is called a complete participant. In this role, the researcher may affect the social processes he or she is studying. That said, this is a rare occurrence in criminal justice institutions. To say a researcher is “going native” suggests one who tends to identify too much with the participants’ interests and viewpoints. An observer-as-participant, on the other hand, still interacts with the participants but has no pretense of being an actual participant. By way of contrast, a researcher who observes a location or process without becoming a part of it in any way is considered a complete observer.


For this discussion, review the experiments and surveys described in the text Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice. Choose one experiment or survey to use as a basis for comparison with field research and respond to the following in your main post:

  1. Propose a field research design that would focus on the same research question as the experiment or survey, but with participant observation techniques in a local setting.
  2. Articulate an appropriate problem statement in relation to the field research proposed.
  3. Explain the researcher role you would play in the setting along the participant observation continuum.
  4. Lay out the stages of your proposed field research study, including your plans for entering the field, developing and maintaining relationships, sampling and recording, and analyzing data.
  5. Analyze what you would expect your study to add to the findings resulting from the study you selected.

Special Instructions:

Create a 1 page essay in APA format according to the instructions above. Use at least 2 scholarly sources for references in which 1 will be provided for you. Implement the 5 study questions as subheadings into the assignment and respond accordingly. Be sure to utilize in-text citations.

Use the text as 1 of your sources: Bachman, R. D. Fundamentals of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

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