PSYC 2520 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4&5: Participant Observation, Observer-Expectancy Effect, Observational Study

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Published on 19 Nov 2012
PSYC 2520: Introduction to Experimental Psychology
Beginning Behavioral Research: A Conceptual Primer (7th ed.) Rosnow & Rosenthal
Chapters 4 and 5: Methods of Systematic Observation
& Methods for Looking Within Ourselves
Quantitative research-- emphasizes numerical data
Qualitative research-- emphasizes spoken words, prose descriptions of behavior, and
pictorial data
Observational study-- research that is based on direct observation of participants “without
any attempt at intervention or manipulation of the behavior being observed”
One traditional procedure in qualitative research is participant observation, where the
term „participant‟ refers to the investigator as opposed to the research participants.
Observer bias occurs when observers overestimate or underestimate the occurrence of
events or “see” things that are not really there because they think those things exist or
operate in a particular way
Four issues to consider when using self-report measures
Data might not be dependable due to evaluation apprehension (truthfulness of
what people report)
Participant's right to privacy (ethical implications)
Self-reported data may not be valid or reliable (can depend on memory--
Difficult to interpret scores that are not norm-referenced
Open-ended questions offer the opportunity to express feelings and impressions
a) Does not lead the respondent by suggesting specific answers
b) The method is exploratory, allowing the researcher to find out whether
the person has anything at all to say
c) The participant can answer in his or her own language, which helps to
increase rapport
a) They are time-consuming for the researcher (who must record
b) They may elicit rambling and off-the-mark responses
c) They may be hard to assess for reliability
Advantages of fixed-choice items:
Forces the respondent's answers into the dimensions of interest to the researcher
rather than producing irrelevant answers
Big Five factors of personality: OCEAN
Openness to experience
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