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Chapter 6

PSYB01 - Chapter 6 Notes.docx

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Chapter #6 Notes: Observational Methods:  Ways to observe participants  Used with goal of in-depth description, non-experimental research, further research, experimental designs Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches:  Empirical/quantitative approach – most often used in psychology, but not the only approach used o Requires statistical analysis  Interpretive/qualitative approach – deep description of people’s behaviour in natural settings, people describing their world in their own words, collecting in-depth information on relatively few ind or within a very limited setting, conclusions based on careful interpretations by investigator o Requires interpreting people’s experiences within a specific context  Takes years of training to be good at either approach  Understanding of behaviour will require BOTH approaches Naturalistic Observation:  Researcher makes observations in a particular natural setting (the field)  Observations made over an extended period of time  Often used with a qualitative approach  This approach used when you want to describe and understand how people in a social or cultural setting live, work, and experience the setting Description and Interpretation of Data:  Naturalistic observation demands researcher immerses themselves in the situation  Goal is to provide a complete and accurate picture  Researcher must keep detailed field notes  First goals is to describe the setting, events and persons observed  Second is to interpret what was observed  Final report: may be a chronological order of events or organized around the theory developed by the researcher  Specific examples of events that occurred during observation used to support the researcher’s interpretations  A good naturalistic observation report will use multiple confirmations to support validity  Quantifiable data can also be gathered Issues in Naturalistic Observation: Participation and Concealment:  Nonparticipant observer – does not become an active part of the setting  Participant observer – an active, insider role o Allows the researcher to observe the setting from the inside o Can experience events same ways as natural participants o Problem: the observer may lose the objectivity necessary to conduct scientific observation ; observations may be biased  Concealed observation – the presence of the observer may influence and alter the behaviour of those being observed o less reactive- people unaware they are being observed o Issues with ethics  Informed consent? – these cases are usually considered exempt research Defining the Scope of the Observation:  A researcher employing naturalistic observation may want to study everything about a setting  Researchers must limit the scope of their observations to behaviours that are relevant to the central issues of the study Limits of Naturalistic Observation:  Cannot use naturalistic for all issues or phenomena  Approach is most useful when looking at complex social settings both to understand the setting and to develop theories based on the observations  Useful for gathering data in real-life settings and generating hypotheses for later experiments  Inability to control setting makes it challenging to test  Field research can be very time consuming, not controlled  The process of data interpretation not simple Systematic Observation:  The careful observation of one or more specific behaviours in a particular setting  Much less global method than naturalistic observation  Often from a quantitative perspective  Observations are quantifiable Coding Systems:  Researchers must decide which behaviours are of interest, choose a setting in which behaviours can be observed and develop a coding system – to measure behaviours  Coding system – summarize qualitative observations o Systems should be as simple as possible o Might need a naturalistic observation to come up with meaningful ways to code their study  Facial Action Coding System (FACS) – a way to categorize subtle, fleeting facial muscle movements based on specific action units of the upper face, lower face and other areas o Used to code expressions  Mealtime Interaction Coding System (MICS) – way of coding interactions of family members during mealtimes o Communication and behaviour standards o Used to explore the relationships between family interactions during mealtime and childhood attachment, (over)eating behaviour Issues in Systematic Observation: Reliability:  The degree to which a measurement reflects a true score rather than a measurement error  Re
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