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PSYC 3430 (63)
Chapter 2

Chapter 2

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 3430
Professor
Peter K Papadogiannis
Semester
Winter

Description
This chapter reviews three basic activities that science requires measurement research and theorizingMeasurement in group dynamicScience often begins with measurementtwo important measurement methodsobserving groups and questioning group membersObservationObservation A measurement method that involves watching and recording individual and group actions Researchers who study groups often begin with Observationno matter what group it is the researchers often watch as the group members interact perform their tasks make decisions confront other groups seek new members and so onvarious approaches of observation exist but essence iswatch and record the actions taken by group members William Foote Whyte used observation while studying street corner gangs key features of observation methods he found ohe focused on observable actions and avoided making inferences about what group members were thinking or feeling if he had no direct evidence of their inner states o He focused his observations in that he sampled specific things instead of every observable action for example he concentrated on communication leadership and attempts at gaining status as opposed to every behavior performed by every corner boy o Sampled across time and settingsWhyte used observation as basic assessment tool and he did that watching himself He also took part in groups activities and the group knew they were being studiedHe didnt quantify his observations he described what he observed Covert observation Watching and recording group behavior without the participants knowledge Overt observation Openly watching and recording group behavior with no attempt to conceal ones research purposesCovert observation of behavior in public places raises few ethical issues so long as it does not violate peoples right to privacyParticipant observationSome researchers observe groups from a vantage point outside the groupSome methods include examining videotapes of therapy sessions or sitting behind one way mirrors watching groups discuss issuesWhyte uses participant observationParticipant observation Watching and recording group behavior while taking part in the social processAs a participant observer Whyte gained access to information that may have been hidden from an external observer he also gota very detailed understanding of the gangDownfall may be that his presence in the gang changed the group itselfSome individuals act different when they know they are being observed this is called the Hawthorne effect Hawthorne effect A change in behavior that occurs when individuals know they are being studied by researchersInstitutional Review Board IRB A group usually located at a university or other research institution that is responsible for reviewing research procedures to make certain that they are consistent with ethical guidelines for protecting human participantsAnother study by Mayo showed that group members were working harder because they were being observed and they felt the company was taking a special interest in themStructuring Observations The type of study Whyte conducted was a qualitative oneQualitative study A research procedure used to collect and analyze nonnumeric unquantified types of data such as text images or objectsHe watched took notes and reflected on what he saw before drawing general conclusions about the group he watched the group without any preconceptions of what to look for so that he would not unwittingly confirms his prior expecttationsQualitative methods generate data which describe general qualities and characteristics rather than precise quantities and amountsData are often contextual can include verbal descriptions of group interactions interviews responses to open ended survey questions etcThis type of qualitative observational method requires impartial researcher who is a keen observer of groupsStructured observation methods is a way for researchers to increase the objectivity of their observations Structured observational method A research procedure that classifies codes group members actions into defined categoriesIn this researchers classify each group behavior into an objectively definable category o First they decide which behaviors to track o Then they develop unambigious descriptions of each type of behavior they will code
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