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Chapter 6

PSYB01 Chapter 6 textbook notes

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Anna Nagy

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Chapter 6 Observational Methods The crux of nonexperimental research is that behaviour is observed or measured. There are many ways of conducting nonexperimental research. These approaches include: observing behaviour in natural settings, asking people to describe their behaviour (self-reports), and examining existing records of behaviour, such as census data or hospital records Survey research will be covered in a different chapter Quantitative and qualitative approaches Observational methods can be broadly classified as primarily quantitative or qualitative. Qualitative research focuses on people behaving in natural settings and describing their world in their own words Qualitative researchers emphasize collecting in-depth information on relatively few individuals or within a very limited setting The conclusions of qualitative research are based on interpretations drawn by the investigator Quantitative research tends to focus on specific behaviours that can be easily quantified Quantitative investigations generally include larger samples Conclusions in quantitative research are based upon statistical analysis of data Example: Youre interested in describing the ways in which the lives of teenagers are affected by working You could take a quantitative approach by giving them a questionnaire where you could ask things like the number of hours they work, type of work, grades, stress levels, etc. After collecting the data, you subject the numbers to statistical analysis The findings would focus on things like the percentage of teenagers who work and the way this percentage varies by age You could also take a qualitative approach, whereby you conduct a series of focus groups where you gather 8-10 teens and engage them in discussion about their perceptions and experiences with the world of work; you would ask them to tell you about the topic using their own words and cognitive frameworks To record this, you could take a video-tape or audio-tape and record transcripts later, or you could have someone take notes A qualitative description of the findings would focus on the themes that emerge from discussions and the manner in which the teenagers conceptualized the issues Naturalistic observation Naturalistic observation is also called field work or field observation In anaturalistic observatstudy, the researcher makes observations in a particular natural setting (the field) over an extended period of time, using a variety of techniques to collect information The report includes these observations and the researchers interpretations of the findings 1 www.notesolution.com
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