Some observations are carried out without the researcher participating. There are several reasons the researcher might choose to do this, one because it eliminates the risk that people will be affected by the presence of a researcher, or it could be that the groups might be unwilling to cooperate in research if you participate in the experiment.
Advantages compared to participant observations
- By reducing the level of interaction between the researcher and the participants you can reduce the risk of the Hawthorne effect. However, this only happens if the observation is covert.
- It is also easier to record information and observations if you do not are not participating, so you can record data more easily
Disadvantages compared to participant observations
- If the observation is overt you are more at risk from the Hawthorne effect as people know they are being watched
- You do not gain as much information as participant observations as you are not so submerged in the group you are observing