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Chapter 6


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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anna Nagy

PSYB01 CHAPTER 6: Studying Behaviour (Lecture 6 – November 1, 2011) I.) Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches - two approaches of observational methods Qualitative Research Quantitative Research Focuses on people behaving in natural Focuses on specific behaviors that can be settings and describing their world in their easily quantified own words Emphasize collecting in-depth information Larger samples on a relatively few individuals or within a very limited setting Conclusion based on interpretations drawn Based upon statistical analysis of data by the investigator e.g. series of focus groups e.g. questionnaire – video or audiotape recorder and have a – results would focus on ie. % of teenagers transcript prepared later/ detailed notes who work and the way this % varies by - results: findings focus on themes age. (quantitative because non-numerical terms using languages and images) II.) Naturalistic Observation - field work or field observation - researcher makes observation in a particular natural setting (field) over an extended period of time using a variety of techniques to collect information - its report = observations and interpretation - e.g. “practically thinking” experiment o driven around on a 3am milk route, helped cashiers total their receipts and watched machine operators logging in their production for the day o how people were going about performing their jobs o printouts, photographed devices, symbolic information (ie gauges, scales, thermometer, etc) o workers‟ way of making mathematical calculations. = based on their acquired knowledge o workers employed complex but very efficient strategies to solve problems at work ***  not predicted from formal models of problem solving - uses when one wants to describe and understand how people in a social or cultural setting live, work and experience the setting. - e.g. social setting about a bar = one visits a bar or more over an extended period of time 1. Description and Interpretation of Data 1 o immersion of oneself in the situation o field researcher observes everything (setting, patterns of personal relationships, people‟s reactions to events and so on) o goal:  to provide a complete and accurate picture rather than to test hypotheses formed prior to the study (through detailed field notes) o goals:  describe the setting, events and persons observed  equally important goal is to analyze what was observed  interpretation what occurred –> generating hypotheses  final report  – sensitive to the chronological order of events and organized around the structure developed by the researcher  - supporting the analysis through multiple confirmations o techniques:  observing people and events  interviewing key informants to provide inside information  talking to people about their lives  examining documents produced in the setting (such as newspaper, newsletter or memos)  audio- and videotape recordings o most useful – when investigating complex social settings both to understand the settings and to develop theories based on the observations o data is primarily qualitative in nature (descriptions of observations themselves) o quantitative data can also be gathered if circumstances allow it  ie. income, family size, education levels, etc. 2. Issues in Naturalistic Observation a. Participation and Concealment Participant Nonparticipant Insider, active role Outsider and non-active role May be able to experience events in No participation with events the same way as natural participants Losing objectivity Is objective Participants‟ behaviors may not Participants‟ behaviors may change change from the researcher‟s from the researcher‟s presence presence as an insider Participants are reactive Less Reactive Concealment o may be preferable because the presence of the observer may influence and alter the behavior of those being observed o ethical issue: invasion of privacy 2 o Some participants quickly become used to the observed and behave naturally in the observer‟s presence (ie. MTV‟s “Real World” show) Decision: depends on both ethical concerns and the nature of the particular group and setting being studied. o there are degrees of participation and concealment and to whom the observer is concealed and whether he completely disclose the goals of the research if asked by anyone. o Researchers who use naturalistic observation to study behavior must carefully determine what their role in the setting will be o Informed consent – may be „exempt‟ research  But may still be given verbally or in written form b. Defining the Scope of the Observation o may want to study everything VS may not all – setting and the questions might be asked are so complex o researchers must limit the scope of their observations to behaviors that are relevant to the central issues of the study c. Limits of Naturalistic Observation o less useful for studying well-defined hypotheses under precisely specified conditions* o data collection can‟t always be scheduled at a convenient time and place o extremely time consuming in an unfamiliar setting o ever-changing pattern of events (unimportant and important) o but mus
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