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Glossary » participant observation

participant observation

observing people by joining them in their activity, e.g. working with people in their workplace to see how they use an office computer system, playing games at the arcade with other game players, or joining a programming team to understand the programming process. Participant observation is extremely useful for gaining trust with the observed people and for developing extremely detailed insights into behavior and reasoning in a situation. Participant observation has the danger of the observer biasing the behavior of the observed and may result in difficult conflicts of interest at times for the researcher.