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Asses The View That Interpretivist Methods Are The Most Appropiate Methods For Researching Society

1399 words - 6 pages

“Asses the view that interpretivist methods are the most appropiate methods for researching society”

Bryman argued that Interpretive Sociology, also known as Phenomenological approaches, is set out to understand varieties of human behaviour by being able to emphatize with it. In order to do this, interpretive sociologist use interpretivist methods. This essay will asses wheter these methods are the most appropiate ones for researching society, focusing on Ethnographic research, Focus groups and Sampling.

First of all, it is important to understand why do interpretive researchers prefer interpretivist methods, also known as qualitative methods. Qualitative methods are any type of ...view middle of the document...

The first one is the extend of involvement with the group. A researcher can choose to have no contact with the group, known as non-participant observation, or to be a member, participant observation. The second one is the amount of information the sociologist gives to the group about their research. They can decide to be honest about their role, overt observation, or tell nothing and pretend to be a member, covert observation. When doing ethnographic research there are other key issues to take into consideration, particulary in participant observation. To gain entry to a group, specially a deviant one, researches usually need to find a gatekeeper who would open the door for them. However this is not always necessesary since not all groups are deviant. Also, there are two elements to consider when seeking for acceptance by the group. The first one is the role, which involves the decition to be covert or overt. Researchers need to adopt the role that gives them better chances, but may find themselves limited by ethical issues, such as getting involve in illegal activities, and the relationships. The second element, relationships, refers to similarities and differences between the researcher and the group, which limit the quality of their research.

Researches may face challenges when recording the activities of the group. They could simply try to remember as much as they can, which gives them full focus on the interaction but might lead them to forget essential things, or make notes, which avoids that but disrupts normal activity at the same time. In participant observation it is hard to remain objective and feelings might slip into the research. The researcher may also find himself/herself Influencing the group. i.e. A small less educated group might be influenced by the researcher’s ideas. When the research is over, when and how to leave the group might become another issue. Glauser and Strauss argued that when new information does nothing but confirm what its already found, is the right time to leave. However, leaving might be too emotional and upset both the researcher and the participants. In the worse cases, if the researcher is in a deviant group, leaving might be dangerous and a strategy must be developed. The ethical dimesion of ethnographic studies also needs to be taken in consideration. Participant observation can lead to the harm of the researchers, participants and public and controversy could arise from observing people without their consent. i.e. Holdaway’s covert study of his police officer colleagues, ended up making them feel as if he had taken advantage of them. Although carrying out Ethnographic research is clearly very tricky, unreliable and might have some disadvantages, I think is a great way to actually experience what is happening out there and to help get some understanding of an issue.

The second interpretive method to be analyzed is Focus groups. These are small groups, ideally representative of a particular part...

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