1. A standardised method of observation that allows all researchers to operate in the same way.
  2. The group under study is often very small; the group is often selected by chance and/or opportunity.
  3. It may involve deception of participants; there is little possibility of obtaining informed consent; the researcher may become involved in or know about illegal or immoral activities; it may be dangerous; the researcher may leave the group without an explanation; the researcher may publish information about the group without their knowledge.
  4. It allows the researcher to see things through the eyes of the group; it focuses on small-scale interaction; it focuses on the meanings behind actions.
  5. Becoming too involved with the group being studied and therefore losing objectivity.
  6. It cannot be replicated by other researchers; the procedures are not standardised; it depends too much on the individual researcher.
  7. Because the presence of an observer may affect the behaviour of the group members; this will therefore not be a true measure of their behaviour.
  8. See any of the advantages listed in Box 3.8, page 196.