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ERIC Number: ED233940
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Pages: 25
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Journalistic Observation as a Qualitative Research Method for Sociology.
Burd, Gene
A comparison is made between the tools of observation and research used by journalists to study society and the media, and the qualitative and clinical research tools used in the social and psychological sciences. The first part of the paper, a journalistic approach to sociology, traces the notion of the sociologist as a super-reporter using participant-observation methods as an example of efforts to make qualitative methods a legitimate research tool in social science. Next, the author touches on the risks and personal involvement necessary when using journalistic observation techniques and cites several examples of the extremes journalists go to in order to obtain certain kinds of information. Then the author discusses investigative reporting by journalists as well as sociologists into the nature and quality of the media. The uncovering of the Watergate scandal is listed as one example of investigative reporting using participant observation and ethnographic techniques. Several sociologists are cited for their ethnographic studies of communications and the media. In the last part of the paper, the author focuses on the differences and similarities in techniques used by both journalists and sociologists and concludes that many journalists and sociologists recognize that qualitative observations are more useful than quantitative, abstract approaches to understanding the human condition. (LH)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Researchers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Participant Observation; Qualitative Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southwestern Sociological Association (Houston, TX, March 16-19, 1983).