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PSYB01 - Lec 4: near-verbatim (Boudens)

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

PSYB01 Lecture 4: PY Date: Oct 4, 2012 Slide 1: Slide 2:  Quantitative research: o Numeric data usually or is in a way that can be converted into numeric data for analysis o Variables for larger groups; two or three variables for at least 30 ppl ; but usually much more than that o Most common type in psych  Qualitative research: o Text, audio, video, photos, performances o Qualitative data may be turned into quantitative data; but sometimes it isn’t o There are some valid ways to manipulate text-based data w/out turning it into numerical data o Look more intensely at smaller # of particpants/groups o Case studies – data is almost always qualitative – text/interview  Small participant number or only one individual  So there isn’t anything to quantify  Photo/narrative/audio/photo etc; Slide 3: Observational Research  The first actual method that we’re looking at in this course  Watching ppl systematically and recording their beh o Systematically: you have a plan when going into it, purpose for doing the observation; systematic way of recording what you see; it’s diff than regular ppl-watching  To be scientific, observation must: o Serve a formulated research purpose  Looked at foundational research, what has been done b4 in that particular area o Be planned deliberately  What will be observed; how to record; what will qualify as part of beh; amt of time spent to observe beh; what ppl o Be systematically recorded  You know what it is that you’re watching for and you have a system set-up for recording those behaviors that makes it as objective as possible o Be subject to checks and controls on validity and reliability Slide 4: Advantages and Disadvantages  All research methods have advantages and disadvantages and a lot of the time, there’s a trade off btn internal and external validity  Observational Research = type of research that tends to have the highest external validity; sometimes internal validity is on the lower side  *Unstructured observation – don’t take anything for granted, observe ppl; act like you’re from another planet and observing ppl in natural habitat 1 PSYB01 Lecture 4: PY Date: Oct 4, 2012 o Car show: ppl bring their fancy cars and ppl can come and look at them; ppl that go up to the cars, usually ppl put their hands in pockets/behind back – WHY? o Speculated that it’s to restrain themselves from touching the cars o Can ask further questions  Advantages of Observational Research : o Naturally occurring behavior  Seeing the things that ppl would normally be doing anyway  Contrast to this: doing observation as part of lab experiment where ppl are doing things that ppl don’t normally do (match up shapes etc;) o Readily available  Don’t have to set up for participants to come into lab; no set-up of special situations; so observational research is mostly easier to do; less expensive o Can yield ideas for future research  Observation may be interesting/unexpected – may study it in future  Disadvantages of Observational Research: o Potential for observer bias/confirmation bias  Observer bias:  Anything that causes observer to pay attention to one thing vs another or anything that causes them to see or interpret something in a particular way  Ex) if recently involved in negative verbal exchange and you’re observing 2 ppl talking loudly – might think that they’re having a negative verbal exchange like a fight even though they may not be  Confirmation bias:  When you have an idea about something (ex: relationship btn 2 things) and b/c you have this idea you only pay attention to things that are consistent with that idea  Seek out info that’s consistent with their idea and avoid info that’s against their idea or attitude  Especially in enviro where lot of activity, lot of distractions so you might focus on idea/hypothesis you already have Slide 5: Observing Behavior from the Outside – Naturalistic Observation  Observation can be done in many diff settings: o Naturalistic o Participant o Laboratory  The setting can be unobtrusive TO obtrusive where researchers are actually manipulating variables  Naturalistic Observations:  Observation of behavior in where it occurs naturally 2 PSYB01 Lecture 4: PY Date: Oct 4, 2012  Should be unobtrusive o Don’t necessarily have to be hidden but person doesn’t know that they’re being observed (ex: watching ppl on subway, what they do when crowded etc;)  Good for studying behaviors that might be altered if participants knew they were being observed (reactivity effect) o A lot of observational research done on: hand-washing behavior after washroom use due to focus on trying to stop spread germs o Do the signs work? Diff placements of hand towels/soap dispensers? o Things will change if they knew that someone was watching o You want to know what happens under NORMAL circumstances when they don’t know someone is observing  High external validity o b/c looking at beh that occurs in real life  Time-consuming & inconvenient o Time-consuming is something that doesn’t happen very often; compared to like survey- based research which is a lot quicker/easier Slide 6: Observing behavior from the inside – Participant Observation  Researchers enter context and becomes part of that context, maintain field notes  Within organization (work setting), social group etc; o Usually, other ppl in the context don’t know that that person is doing research  Rich narratives about the experiences of the observed and the observer b/c the person is actually experiencing it  Advantages: o Introduces us to the world of others o Higher external validity  Similar 2 naturalistic observation o Researcher able to experience same conditions of ppl being observed  Get good sense of enviro, key problems, what person goes thru on daily basis o Can collect info on factors that may not be overtly observable  Difficult to see if you weren’t actually participating in the setting – but you can see it if part of that enviro now Slide 7: Observing behavior from the inside – Participant Observation  Subjectivity is a major advantage, also a major disadvantage o Advantage b/c gives an opportunity to see what it’s like to be a person in that setting o Disadvantage: if the researcher gets so immersed in being part of grp, makes it harder to see things objectively; get set of assumptions that they may not have had b4 (ex: do participant observation of team that is mayor ford’s office; lot of ppl don’t like him but ppl who work in his office may see him in a diff way and if you’re part of that group, you
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