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Lecture 4

PSYB01- Lecture 4.docx

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Connie Boudens

PSYB01 1 Lecture 4 Observational Research, Case Studies, Archival Analysis Slide 2: Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research Quantitative Numeric (or can be converted into numeric) Fewer features/variables, larger groups For example, looking at 2-3 variables for at least 30 people or more This is the type of research is common in psychology Qualitative Data is text, video, audio, photographs, performances, etc. Sometimes it can be turned into something quantitative but sometimes it isnt A lot of data just stays in text form Smaller number of ps or groups who are looked at more intensely ex: case studies Slide 3: Observational Research Systematically watching & recording behaviour much different from regular `people watching`- you go in with a plan and a purpose & a systematic way to record what you see To be scientific, observation must Serve a formulated research purpose a reason why you`re doing a observational project foundational research looking into the same field Be planned deliberately know exactly what youre observing, how youll record it, how much time youll spend, definition of behavior, the specific people youll record Be systematically recorded know what it is youre watching for = makes it as objective as possible Be subject to checks and controls on validity and reliability. With respect to advantages and disadvantages there is usually a trade-off between internal and external validity PSYB01 2 Lecture 4 Certain types of observational research usually has the highest amount of external validity & sometimes internal validity on the low side - but there is variation Advantages Naturally occurring behaviour youre seeing the stuff that people would be normally doing anyways; compared to in a laboratory experiment people do things they dont usually do such as matching up shapes Readily available you dont have to set up for participants to come into the lab, a lot of time dont have to worry about having special access or setting up special situations = makes observational research easier to do and less expensive Can yield ideas for future research there may be things you observe that strike you as interesting, unexpected = ideas for future studies Ex: in car shows why do observers put their hands in their pockets or behind their backs? Is it to restrain themselves from touching the cars especially since owners are there too? can study this in the feature what settings do people do this in? What other related behaviour is there? What factors lead to this behaviour? Disadvantages Potential for observer bias / confirmation bias Observer bias anything to do with the person actually doing the research; anything that causes them to pay more attention to one things vs. another thing, or see & interpret something in a particular way Ex: if youve recently been involved in a lot of negative verbal exchanges or seen a lot people engaging in negative verbal exchanges - when you see two people talking loudly might actually misinterpret it as a negative verbal exchange when its not Confirmation bias Occurs when you have an idea about something ( such as the relationship between two things) and since you already have an idea you only notice things consistent to your idea Ex: having a political opinion pay more attention to things consistent with the opinion and seek out information consistent information and avoid inconsistent information If youre engaging in an observational study and theres a particular thing you want or expect to see then youre probably going to see more of it especially in an environment with lots of activity and distractionsPSYB01 3 Lecture 4 Slide 5: Observing Behaviour from the outside: Naturalistic observation Observation of behavior in where it occurs naturally. person doesnt know theyre being observed Should be unobtrusive - ex: watching people in the subway, ex: how people choose which bikes to use in spin class ( those who are more advanced usually sit in the front new comers sit in the back) people wont even know youre observing them Good for studying behaviors that might be altered if participants knew they were being observed (reactivity effect). Ex: handing washing behavior & length of time hands are washed, hand-blowers vs. hand towels, signs, etc. High external validity because looking at naturally occurring behavior Time-consuming and inconvenient Ex: time-consuming if the behavior doesnt happen so often such as mothers with newborn infants in hospital settings can only see one mother at a time, need to go to a n
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