Short answer question Essay Example

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Participant Observation vs. In-depth Interview

In-depth interviews are described as informal and unstructured interviews that explore different research topics that may last for a long time. They are more like a casual chat, with the interviewer comparatively nondirective and the interviewee fairly unimpeded on what they discuss. In-depth interview presents an opportunity to foster the kind of give-and-take scenario where the participants in a given research can ask for clarification regarding the questions asked and discuss their meaning. On the other hand, participant observation is described as a data collection technique that entails direct, first hand of a group of participants. In this technique, the interviewer takes part in the participant’s daily affairs as much as possible.

In-depth interviewing and participant observation are closely related data collection techniques. In fact, there is some overlap between in-depth interviewing and participant observation because the latter often collects data through informal interviews with people in the field. In addition, both in-depth interviewing and participant observation can be used to collect qualitative data. The two data collection techniques also share the same goal: they both seek to explore the views and feelings of the respondents without imposing inappropriate structure on the views that they express through the use of preset overly restrictive direction on what subjects they explore and how they express it. In other words, these two data collection techniques frame the views of a participant in a way that makes sense to him or her; they do not constrain or limit the views as per the researcher’s preconceived structures of meaning or category systems. Yet participant observation and in-depth interviewing are distinct, because, in contrast to in-depth interviewing, participant observation research collects data through observation and participation.