Participant-Observation Methodology

An excellent example of a research project that can only be done using participant-observation methodology is a research study to determine the prevalence of irresponsible sexual relationships between inmates and correctional officers in prisons. In this study, the researcher must be part of the population under study by impersonating either as an inmate or as a correctional officer. This would also entail active involvement in various activities carried out by the inmates or correctional officers in the prisons. The researcher must ensure that the inmates as well as the correctional officers are not aware of his or her purpose in the field or within the correctional facilities.

Reason for Choosing Participant-Observation Methodology

In my opinion, participant-observation methodology is the most appropriate technique for conducting such a research project because people under study is likely to develop observer effect if other research methodologies such as surveys and direct observations are used. Through the observer effect, inmates and correctional officers are likely to alter their conducts and behaviors due to the presence of the researcher. Thus, if the researcher participates or gets involved in most of their activities and becomes ‘one of them’ without their privity, such alterations or changes in behavior are less likely to occur. Moreover, the participation of the researcher during the research project would also give the investigator a clearer and in-depth view of the lives of prisoners. It will also facilitate observation of the conducts of inmates and correctional officers in their natural or normal settings.

Research Question that That Can Be Used with Either Content Analysis or Comparative Historical Analysis

In my view, a research question for which a researcher can choose either content analysis or comparative historical analysis is: “How has the election of President Barrack Obama changed the viewpoints of American people in relation to racial discrimination and social stereotypes about African Americans?”

To my mind, content analysis methodology would be appropriate for researching on this question because it provides a detailed review and investigation of previous texts and available literature in order to identify how the attitudes, beliefs and viewpoints of the American people have changed over the years, due to the election of Barrack Obama as president of United States of America. Content analysis would also help in determining the psychological and emotional states of the American people with regard to racial discrimination of African Americans in the U.S.

On the other hand, comparative historical analysis would assist in examination of various historical occurrences that relate to racial discrimination of African Americans and how the occurrences have influenced the election of Black Americans to various leadership and political positions in the United States. It would also help in establishing how viewpoints of American people on social stereotypes about African Americans have changed over time. Comparative historical analysis would also provide detailed explanations of the history of racial discrimination in the U.S. as well as the development of social stereotypes about African Americans. Lastly, comparative historical analysis would also provide detailed comparisons for history of racial discriminations against other minority groups such as Chinese Americans in the U.S.

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