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The roles of observers in empirical research in social sciences: Some controversies

dc.creatorIlić, Vladimir
dc.description.abstractAt the beginning of the XXI century, participatory and non-participatory observation are separated more than ever, both in methodological literature and in research practice. An allegedly stark difference between qualitative and quantitative methodology has disintegrated the method of observation and hampered examination of its capacities and limitations. The role of “pure observer” has-except in psychology and ethology-been greatly underestimated. It has been situated within quantitative methodology, while no room has been left in the framework of qualitative methodology for a more detailed consideration of possibilities (and limitations) of the application of the participant-observer role. That very rewarding role has largely been ignored in methodological literature. The understanding of the possibilities of participatory observation has also been narrowed down. The main objective of participatory observation does not have to be a first-hand examination of a social situation from the perspective of the observed. It is not the sole purpose of participatory observation to understand, and of non-participatory observation to explain. Although participation-joined with introspection-inarguably strengthens sensitivity to subjective dimension of the observed phenomenon, participatory observation can serve for detection, enhancement, or refutation of causal explanation. Likewise, it is impossible to imagine “pure observation” that is completely devoid of empathy, at least in social sciences. In this paper, the author has presented and analysed the state of affairs concerning roles of observers in social science empirical research. He also attempted to argue that the methodological emphasis on the difference between the roles of the observer is largely the consequence of influences and interests that stem from the broader social environment.en
dc.publisherCroatian Sociological Association
dc.relationinfo:eu-repo/grantAgreement/MESTD/Basic Research (BR or ON)/179035/RS//
dc.sourceRevija za sociologiju
dc.subjectRoles of observersen
dc.subjectPure observationen
dc.subjectParticipatory observationen
dc.subjectNon-participatory observationen
dc.titleUloge promatrača u empirijskim istraživanjima u društvenim znanostima: Neki prijeporisr
dc.titleThe roles of observers in empirical research in social sciences: Some controversiesen
dc.citation.other45(3): 279-309

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