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Using Material From Item A And Elsewhere, Assess T Essay

  • Submitted by: jackdu92
  • on November 19, 2010
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 960 words

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Below is an essay on "Using Material From Item A And Elsewhere, Assess T" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Using material from item A and elsewhere, assess the strengths and weaknesses of using observation to investigate the judicial process. (15 marks)
One problem with using interviews or questionnaires is that what people say they do and what they actually do can be two different things. One way round this might be simply to see what people really do by observing them in their natural environment. There are two different types of observation; participant and non-participant, participant observation is where the researcher takes part in the life of the group while observing it. Non-participant observation is where the researcher simply observes the group without taking part. Whether participant or non-participant, observation can be overt or covert, overt observation is where the researcher reveals their true identity and purpose to those being studied and asks their permission to observe. Covert observation is where the researcher conceals their true identity and purpose, usually posing as a genuine member of a group.
There are many practical advantages and disadvantages to using observation as a means of researching crime and deviance. Crime involves activities that society sees as disreputable and for which there are penalties. As a result, criminals are likely to become secretive, anti-authority, and suspicious of any formal research. Lewis Yablonsky (1973) point out, a teenage gang is likely to see researchers who come armed with questionnaires as the unwelcome representatives of authority. As a result, participant observation may be the only method for studying deviant groups. Because it enables the sociologist to build a rapport with the group and gain it’s trust. Participant observation can also be used in situations where questioning would be ineffective. This is shown in Aaron Cicourel’s (1968) study of how police categorise juveniles by making unconscious assumptions about whether they are criminal ‘types’. By virtue of this being unconscious assumptions,...

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