A research project that can only be carried out using participant-observation methodology is to understand the use of technology in foreign language classrooms. I would like to know how technology is used to motivate foreign language students, make learning visible and as a differentiating tool. Also, I would like to know the positive and negative aspects of technology. Foreign language students in our institution operate in a way that is different from the rest of the students. To successfully carry out this research by understanding the complexity of foreign language students and how technology is being used in their class, it would be impossible to use questionnaires, phone calls or any other research method.
Therefore, it is important for a researcher to be physically present in the field and obtain the information directly by participating. Such information will significantly contribute to data analysis. Precisely, I will be required to enroll as a student in an actual foreign language course. Also, it will be my duty to complete all the classwork and assigned homework. In case, there are any field trips I should be part of the team and participate fully just like any other regular student in my class. Lastly, I will record on the expectations and classroom norms, and any other information that I might find relevant to my research.
The reasons for using participant observation for this particular research are as follows. First, as a researcher, I will be able to access information that outsiders might find it difficult to get. For example, after I enroll as a student in the foreign language class, I will be able to know the type of rules employed in such a class and the teachers’ expectations of students. Besides, I will also be able to build and know the nature of interactions students have with teachers. Therefore, all these vital information cannot be obtained without being part of the team.
Second, the methodology allows me to integrate into the environment and considered as part of the culture. Mostly, the research participants do not know that someone is observing them; therefore, the chances of them changing their behavior is very minimal. They will consider me as part of the group and behave as normal around me. Therefore, this will give me an opportunity to get richly detailed information that might improve the quality my data.
Lastly, it is an ideal method for this particular research because it can help me interpret the data. It will be easier for me to interpret the data because, it allows me to participate actively and observe the culture of my subjects as opposed to other researchers who are not familiar with the culture. Other research methods might interpret the data from the objective standpoint
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