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Published on 17 Dec 2010
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB01H3
Professor
Observing Behavior
Non-experimental research = behavior observed/ measured
-Many different methods used:
1. Naturalistic Observation (field work/ field observations)
Researcher makes observations in a natural setting, over a period of time, using a variety
of techniques to collect information
Observations & descriptions should be objective
Used to describe and understand how people or animals in a social or cultural setting live,
work, and experience
Ethical Problems:
Misrepresentation/ sharing of observations, are we doing harm to the people being
observed by exposing their behavior? Consult ethics committee about how the
observations are to be shared/ represented
The setting:
- Usually qualitative data collected
- Researcher must interpret what occurred
- Generate hypotheses that help explain the data
- Final report of results organized around a structure developed by the researcher
Issues:
Participation
- Nonparticipant observer does not become an active part of the setting (outside)
- Participant observer assumes an active role (insider)
* Problem= should we interact? Does interaction affect objectivity?
Concealment
- Concealed observation may be preferable to minimize reactivity
- Non-concealed observation may be preferable from an ethical viewpoint
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Defining the scope of the observation
Limits of n aturalistic o b servatio n s
- Can n o t b e u sed to stu d y all is s ues
- Les s u seful when stu d yin g well-defined hy p o theses u n d er pre cisely spe cific conditio
unles s trying to g o b a c k an d find o u t small d etails that may h ave led to different
co n clusio n s
- Field rese a rch is difficult to d o (ti me co n sumin g)
- A n egative c a se analysis may b e n e c e s s ary if we h ave o b servatio n s that d o n o t fit w
what we were ex p e c tin g (r e a s s es s ment)
2. Systematic Observation = careful observation of one/more specific behaviors in a particular
setting
Research interested in only a few very specific behaviors
Observations are quantifiable
Researcher has often developed prior hypotheses
Coding systems
- Simplicity
- Categorize specific behaviors that we are interested in
-Developed for particular study or may use validated systems done in past research
Methodological issues
Equipment
e. g videotapin g b ehavior?
Re a c tivity
One-way mirror for o b servatio n s? Is it ethic al th o u g h sinc e they are n o t aware of it?
Reli ability
Inter-r ater reliability n o t o b tained e a sily
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Document Summary

Many different methods used: naturalistic observation (field work/ field observations)  researcher makes observations in a natural setting, over a period of time, using a variety of techniques to collect information.  used to describe and understand how people or animals in a social or cultural setting live, work, and experience. consult ethics committee about how the observations are to be shared/ represented. Generate hypotheses that help explain the data. Final report of results organized around a structure developed by the researcher. Nonparticipant observer does not become an active part of the setting (outside) Participant observer assumes an active role (insider) Concealed observation may be preferable to minimize reactivity. Non-concealed observation may be preferable from an ethical viewpoint www. notesolution. com.  limit s of n a t u r ali stic o b s e r v a ti o n s.