Participant observation is one type of data collection method by practitioner-scholars typically used in qualitative research and ethnography. This type of methodology is employed in many disciplines, particularly anthropology, sociology, communication studies, human geography, and social psychology.
The goal of participant observation is to gain a deep understanding and familiarity with a certain group of individuals, their values, beliefs, and way of life.
It is used because it gives the researcher a better understanding of what is happening in the culture and lends credence to one’s interpretations of the observation. Participant observation also enables the researcher to collect both quantitative and qualitative data through surveys and interviews.