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Observers Paradox and Ways to minimize its Impact in Collection of Live Speech Data - Essay Example

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Sociolinguistic research tries to make observations about normal use of linguistic tools under systematic observation. Broadly, sociolinguistic study encompasses a unique field of study of language and culture in a way that gives insight into language use and social life of the community under consideration. …
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Observers Paradox and Ways to minimize its Impact in Collection of Live Speech Data
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Download file to see previous pages Therefore, the collection of live speech data is an indispensable data collection method that makes the overarching aims of sociolinguistic study attainable. For instance, speech data helps the researcher unravel elements of the social milieu and shared perspectives that define a community. However, the awareness that the participants are under observation impacts on the way they speak and what they speak about, an effect called the Observer’s Paradox. A famed sociolinguist, William Labov, was the first to discuss the paradox in detail. Labov observed that the use of systemized observation had an impact on the way respondents made use of their sociolinguistic abilities, in a way that could profoundly distort the nature of the data collected. This, he noted, could dent the validity of the research in question. This research seeks to discuss the Observer’s Paradox in the context of collecting speech data and explore some ways in which a researcher can roll back some of its negative effects in sociolinguistic research.
INTRODUCTION
Observer’s Paradox is a term attributable to the linguistic researcher, William Labov. The term describes the situation whereby the observation of an event by a researcher in a controlled experimental situation fundamentally alters the natural way in which the event occurs. This transformation, especially in sociolinguistic behavior, impedes the collection of accurate data on the subject. Consequently, the effect arouses much concern in the linguistic research community. According to Labov (1), linguistic research should aim to reveal how people talk without the influence of systematic observation, even though data is unobtainable without systematic observation (Labov, 1). Hence, Observer’s Paradox poses a challenge to sociolinguistic researchers, and ways to circumvent the hurdle are necessary to maintain the validity of research with regard to accuracy and ethical codes that govern empirical research. One of the broad aims of sociolinguistic research is to observe linguistic elements in a community. The elements under empirical scrutiny occur normally, although they are usually unnoticeable outside the confines of systematic controlled observations (Sheffield university, 1). This necessitates the introduction of statistical research methods such as data collection through recording of live speech data. By extension, this means the introduction of a third party to the social setup within which these linguistic factors occur. The disruptions of the natural conditions that define sociolinguistic elements in a community are not dismissible, and can influence the intimate understanding of a community’s sociolinguistic landscape. Sociolinguistic studies are rarely quantifiable, therefore qualitative data collection method remains the best option for many researchers. Speech data is one of the strongest methods through which sociolinguistic data is obtainable. Unfortunately, the method of data collection is one of the major in which the effect of Observer’s Paradox happens. Since the effect's initial observation in Labov’s seminal work on qualitative sociolinguistic work, Observer’s Paradox has attracted considerable attention from the linguistic research community (Labov, 92). Presently, the issues pertaining to the paradox and the consequential ways in which the effects of the effect are eliminable in sociolinguistic research are plentiful. This research seeks to discuss the various issues that are attributable to Observer’s Paradox, and some of the ways in which the negative attributes of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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At first, I thought 12 of pages is too much for such a question. But now I see it could not be done better. As the author starts you see the difficulty of the topic. I’ve read all at once. Terrific example
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