Shopping in Prague
The following is a sample Paper 3 that looks at a case study in the Czech Republic. Below you will first find the stimulus piece, followed by the static questions. A copy of the mock paper is included to give students as an in-class assessment.
Potential answers are included in the hidden boxes below.
Shopping in the Czech Republic
Noting that teenagers are likely to adapt quite quickly to the recent phenomenon of shopping as a leisure time activity in the years since the fall of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe, Spilkova & Radova (2011) conducted a study in the Czech Republic to try and understand the meaning of “hanging out” in shopping malls. Previous research had indicated that 60% of Prague’s teenagers spent their free time participating in sports or creative activities. The researchers wanted to see if this was changing.
The researchers conducted their study in a three-level shopping mall located outside of the centre with more than 200 shops, an entertainment zone and sports facility. The second phase of research was carried out at another mall that is more centrally located in a wealthier area of Prague.
The pilot study consisted of participant observation and semi-structured interviews of 14 - 17-year-old teenagers. It became clear that the teenagers had trouble identifying their motivation to be in the mall in their leisure time. Questions focused on what they did in the mall and why, as well as their feelings about the mall environment.
It was found that the teenagers tended to move in small groups with a favourite table in the food court, usually near the escalator with a good view. Generally, groups arrived early afternoon as single-gender but after some hours began to mix, usually coming straight after school and later on weekends because of chores at home. Most of those interviewed came every day and girls tended to stay longer than boys. In addition, the researchers found that Facebook was used to set up meetings and the mall was used as a kind of testing ground for recent Facebook friends to meet.
While boys went to the shops less often, very little purchasing was done by either gender, which is a substantial difference from similar research findings in the United States. The teenagers reported that their main reasons for being in the mall were to socialize and to be in a safe place where nobody was telling them what to do. The overall conclusion was that the main purpose of being in the mall was to support identity formation through talking and marking out the space as their own.
Spilkova, J. and Radova, L. (201). The formation of Identity in Teenage Mall Microculture: A Case Study of Teenagers in Czech Malls. Sociologický časopis/Czech Sociological Review, 47:3
1a. Identify the method used and outline two characteristics of the method.
1b. Describe the sampling method used in the study.
1c. Suggest an alternative or additional research method giving one reason for your choice.
2. Describe the ethical considerations that were applied in the study and explain if further ethical considerations could be applied.
3. Discuss how a researcher could ensure that the results of the study are credible.