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Objectivity versus Subjectivity as Social Research Methods

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Objectivity versus Subjectivity as Social Research Methods

Discussions from social research argue over or try to maintain a sense of equilibrium while answering and discussing the questions of "objectivity" and "neutrality" vs. "bias" and "subjectivity." While reading, "So what do you want from us here?" by Barbara Myerhoff, "Getting In" by Ruth Horowitz, and "Jelly’s Place" by Elijah Anderson I focused on the questions of "objectivity" vs. "subjectivity." Using the authors field research I found that the authors found specific approaches that affected their data whether it was interacting and forming relationships with the community members or just observing what roles or social order occur in society. There were many positive and negative research methods and approaches used by some and others had better access to data and received more insight from other outside sources.
In the field research by Barbara Myerhoff, I found that she dealt with her research by using a bias approach. It seemed to be intentional because of her up bringing and her childhood exposure to her religious background. Her parents and grandparents avoided the topics of being Jewish and were ashamed by being called "greenhorns." " We were confused and embarrassed about our background." (Myerhoff, p. 84) Her focus was to "explore the process of aging and to study the factors that give elderly people the strength to face such problems as poverty, neglect, loneliness, poor health, inadequate housing, and physical danger." (Myerhoff, p. 83) This was also a chance to return to her roots and to find out what her heritage was really about after all these years. Myerhoff formed relationships with many of the Centers elderly, but she ran into many suspic...


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... Myerhoff really went into her study blindly, but with the intent of learning more about the elderly and her Jewish heritage. If she had a little insight and understood some of her surroundings and religion she would have had an easier time with finding out more information from the elderly.
Using the author’s field research I felt that many of them tried to enter their situation as an outsider looking in as most researchers do. Given time most of them were able to some what be accepted into their social surroundings. No matter what role or relationship the researchers developed along the way they still had to make choices to would affect their data in different ways. They just had to pick the correct approach and apply it. Finally all stories proclaimed different discussions of social science by using different forms of "objectivity" and "subjectivity."

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