The famous writer William Foote Whyte can be considered as one of the greatest classic sociological researchers, and it can be justified and was really proven by the author in his writing entitled “The Street Corner Society” (1993). This book is an account of the lives and experiences of the Italians and Americans living in a slum called Cornerville (University of Chicago Press, 2007). Whyte have been able to discuss and explain the very important topic he tackled and the significance of this all because of the most appropriate method that he used as a sociological researcher which is the “participant observation” method.
This method that he used was frankly discussed by him through the passages in the book, which he explained to be for the purpose of deeper understanding, stronger appeal and appreciation of the readers regarding the topic the book was discussing. The discussion of the sociological research method as well contributed a lot for the book to be considered as one of the most essential reference materials in different field researches done by undergraduates and intellectuals for several generations (University of Chicago Press, 2007)
The participant observation method of sociological researches was defined by Whyte as a method in which the researcher directly involves him or herself in the environment where the group of people or community he or she is going to study dwells. Examples of this group of people are the religious group and professional groups. But this research method is not just a single process; it is a set of methods such as informal interviews, observations, discussions and document analyses; it is intended for the researcher to acquire intensive familiarity and understanding of the community he or she is studying (University of Chicago Press, 2007)
In the case of Whyte’s study of Cornerville, William Whyte had actually lived in this slum and mingled with the people living there to be able to get the data he needed while working on this book (University of Chicago Press, 2007).
Reference: Info’s on Street Corner Society by William Foote Whyte [Electronic (2007). Version]. Retrieved May 16, 2007 from http://www. press. uchicago. edu/cgi-bin/hfs. cgi/00/12361. ctl.