p.p1 participation/observation in order to obtain a better understanding

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Within the research of J. Mark Watson’s, “Outlaw Motorcyclists”, it is evident that it is an example of ‘Qualitative research’. I chose this example for a multitude of reasons, the main reason was due to the fact that Watson spent three years of participant observation. With qualitative data, it is known for utilizing methods such as participation/observation in order to obtain a better understanding of reason and motivations. In this case, Watson wanted to gain insight in the “subculture of outlaw motorcyclists”, according to his article, “Outlaw Motorcyclists”. Watson uses qualitative research which utilizes ‘nonnumerical data’, in this case through the use of field notes and participant observation. Based upon the information addressed in our textbook, there is further justification of my reasoning. With qualitative research it is provided with significant detail where Watson becomes a part of the ‘social world’ in which he is studying, in this case “Outlaw Motorcyclists”. Consistently throughout his article, Watson depicts a detailed analysis of the outlaw motorcyclists’ behaviors, attitudes, social class/societal standing, and overall lifestyle

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In comparison, Watson’s research could not be an example of ‘Quantitative research’ due to several reasons, first and foremost, Watson did not choose this group at random or utilize a form of structured research, he actually sought them out through the form of participation observation versus a survey or questionnaire. Another example which further supports my reasoning is due to the size of the group being studied, it isn’t a large sample of a population being generalized for the sake of data and statistics. The research itself is investigating both the lifestyle and mindset of the outlaws in their own biker culture. Although some may attempt to argue that this is an example of quantitative research, this is simply not the case. Despite quantitative research utilizing interviews to obtain information, Watson’s research is still considered qualitative. This is owed to the fact that with quantitative research that information from the interview would still be disclosed through numerical formatting. Quantitative research is a means of converting the copious amounts of information on the social world being researched into the form of numerical data and statistics in order to better convey the information to other people. Therefore, qualitative research could be the only precise reason. 

As a result, the research of J. Mark Watson’s, “Outlaw Motorcyclists” can only be identified as an example of qualitative research. This can be proven due to Watson’s use of participation observation and written field notes to better understand the attitudes, beliefs, and overall lifestyle and subculture of “Outlaw Motorcyclists”. Since quantitative research translates the information obtained from a particular social world into numerical data to relay onto others, it is evident that quantitative research is not plausible for this article.