Cooper and Schindler (2019), provide that in a participant relationship, observation can be categorized into three different aspects which encompass; if the observation is direct or indirect, if the observer’s location is known or not known, if the observer is a participant or a non-participant and the possibility of inculcating all these observation categorizations based on the researcher’s preference.
Within a classroom setting, where the observer is not a normal classroom participant, it not easy to secretly observe and participate in the class activity. For the case of the student author who would like to see the professional conduct in a classroom setting, it is best to incorporate direct observation. This scenario is due to the biases likely to be encountered if the observer indirectly participates in the evaluation process. Additionally, the student author can also incorporate the use of indirect participation by inculcating an electronic medium such as a hidden camera. This practice enables the student author to observe from afar how the course evaluation guide is conducted in a classroom setting.
In the observation of retail shoppers by a researcher, the participant’s identity need not be known since this may result in conflict on the issue of competition for consumers. Thus, this case requires an observation method that conceals the identity of the observer. According to Copper and Schindler (2019), indirect observation is when the recording is done through the use of mechanical, electronic or photographic means. In indirect observation where the researcher is likely to incorporate the use of automated, photographic or electrical methods, the observer may not be visible thus a non-participant in the direct observation process. However, the observer is involved in indirect observation by virtue of the electronic or photographic means.
In the observation of a focus group interview by the client, the location and status of the client need not be known. Thus, the need to incorporate an observation method that conceals the identity of the client but enable the transmission of information or observable details that allows the client to make a conclusive decision on the best candidate for a particular position. In this case, it is best to incorporate the concealment method. This routine is because the interviewers will not be aware of the observer’s presence and many are likely to reveal their inner characters rather than conceal them. This process can be best done through the use of electronic or photographic media such as the use of hidden CCTV cameras. This mode will facilitate indirect observation which is non-participatory.
According to Copper and Schindler (2019), the observation methods in a participant relationship can also be done through the combination of different observation methods. In the observation of the level of effectiveness of personal farmworker organizers in the organization of grape grower’s employees requires the amalgamation of direct and concealed observation methods. This approach is because meeting with individual farmworker organizers can easily result in recognition of a new participant. Thus, it is necessary for the observer to involve a known individual farmworker organizer, with an electronic or photographic device that allows the transfer of observable details to the observer. The observer is likely to observe the effectiveness of farmworker organizers without being known and without affecting their behavioral characteristics.
Cooper, D., & Schindler, P. (2019). Business Research Methods (13th Ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.