What are the strengths and weaknesses of participant observation as a method?


-Anushree Ojha, Subject Matter Expert at Edmarz

Solution: Participant observation is a type of micromethod used in field research. The following are its advantages and disadvantages:


(i) It gives a highly rich and detailed image of the people who are the subject of the study.

(ii)The sociologist can speak directly with the community’s native people, ensuring the data’s validity.

(iii)The sociologist is free to ask the person an unlimited number of questions. In the event of a questionnaire or a survey, this is not possible.

(iv)A daily record is kept, reducing the chances of missing information.

(v) It aids in the correction of early perceptions that are frequently skewed.

(vi) Many inaccuracies and biases that are prevalent in other methods are avoided due to the extended hours spent in the field.


(i) The procedure necessitates a significant amount of time and effort.

(ii) It also entails a significant amount of expenditures during the course of the project.

(iii) It is not required for the report to include the insider’s or sociologist’s perspectives, as the sociologist may become biased in deciding what to write and what not to write.

(iv) Apart from the sociologist himself, there is no alternative version available to check or validate the findings.

(v) A sociologist or anthropologist can only investigate a small group of people. As a result, it is impossible to say whether the observation of the village study is widespread in the greater community.

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