Answers to a series of questions about 'participant observation'

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1. Suggest two reasons why participant observation is a 'highly individual technique'.

It depends upon the skill and personality of the observer.

Also their ability to keep their objectivity throughout the study.

2. Identify two criticisms of letting 'the data speak for itself' in participant observation studies.

The reader can interpret the data differently.

The reader is also left to their own judgements both of the 'subjects' and the researcher.

3. Suggest two problems that might be experienced by a researcher in undertaking covert participant observation.

They could fail in covert integration, ruining all chances that were possible of observing the 'subjects' covertly.

They might not even get that far, by not being accepted at all.

4. Critically discuss sociological arguments and evidence for the view that diversity and choice in education "inevitably advantage the children of the powerful and articulate".

There are various sociological explanations/arguments/evidence supporting the view that diversity and choice in education "inevitably advantage the children of the powerful and articulate", here are a few; location of both school and parent and child home, wealth of parents and status of parents.

When referring to the 'powerful and articulate' the question refers to the higher classes, mainly the middle class. Middle class parents have cultural capital, where as working class parents don't, meaning middle class parents have better facilities and can explore schools not local to them, as they can afford to either pay for transport to and from school or simply move house. Working class children will most likely go to a local school, meaning less choice for working class parents and the middle class are advantaged.

Ethnic minorities too have lots of difficulty with choice. If born abroad they may have limited knowledge of the British education system. Also they could have limited knowledge of...