Non-Participant Observation involves the researcher observing respondents, but keeping their distance, and not engaging with those respondents.
As with many of the ‘minor’ research methods in A-level sociology, this one can be a bit of a struggle to make interesting, but here are three starter activities to get your students in the mood for making observations…
Starter 1: How many passes does the team in white make?
I won’t give too much away, but it does show one of the limitations of doing narrowly focused structured observations where you are only looking for one thing!
Starter 2: Whodunnit?
Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but this demonstrates how difficult observation can be, in terms of the amount of things you might miss if you’re not paying close attention!
Starter 3: Street Life:
This is a bit of an old video, but it introduces students to some of the strengths and limitations problems of qualitative, unstructured observations.
You might like to think about showing this in contrast to a video of street life in a very underdeveloped country, and comparing the differences.
How to use these starters
I use these three starters one after the other before I get students to go out and perform their own structured and unstructured observations of street-life in the local high street.
The first two are really just a bit of fun, but they do drive home the fact that you might miss a lot if you are just focusing on a few factors when doing structured observations.
If you like this sort of thing and want to see how these starters blend into the rest of my A-level sociology lesson on non-participant observation you might like to subscribe to my A-level sociology teacher resources.
Non Participant Observation material is scheduled for release in October 2020.
A-Level Sociology Teaching Resources
NB – you get All of these starters and more as part of my A-level sociology teaching resources, available as a monthly subscription, for only £9.99 a month! The subscription includes lesson plans and modifiable student hand-outs and PPTs. Activities such as these starters are embedded into the student learning materials.
I hope you find these resources useful, and happy teaching,
Karl, September 2020.
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