4.1 Participant observation

Participant observation usually involves spending time at the research site, building up relationships with informants. It can take different forms, for example it could be covert, where the participant does not disclose that he/she is a researcher, but it is usually overt with the participant either having a role working with informants or just observing. There are typically a number of problems a participant observer has to overcome: gaining entry and establishing relationships with informants, finding reliable and well-informed informants, and maintaining the relationships. The demands of doing the daily job or role play can leave little time for research. But the advantages of participant observation are that the researcher begins to see the world from the viewpoint of the group members because day to day the researcher experiences what the group experience.

4 Participation, participant observation and participatory action research

4.2 Participatory action research