Observational Design

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  • Observational Design
    • Structured
      • Simplify target behaviours that will become main focus of investigation
      • Allow researcher to quantify their observation using pre-determined list of behaviours & sampling methods
      • Make recording of data easier & more systematic
      • Data is likely to be numerical (quantitative)
        • Analysis & comparisons are easier
    • Unstructured
      • Observer writes down everything they see
      • Produces accounts that are rich in detail
      • This method may be appropriate when obs are small in scale & involve few ppts
      • May be greater risk of observer bias
      • May only record behaviour that catches their eye & this may not be useful or important
      • Qualitative data - hard to analyse
    • Behavioural Categories
      • When target behaviour is broken up into components that are observable & measurable
      • There should be no need for inferences to be made
      • Before observation begins the researcher should ensure they have included all ways which target behaviour may occur
      • Can make data collection more structured and objective
      • Categories should be exclusive & not overlap
    • Sampling Methods
      • Event Sampling
        • Involves counting number of time particular behaviour occurs
        • Useful when target behaviour occurs infrequently & could be missed if time sampling was used
        • However if specific behaviour is too complex, important details may be overlooked when using event sampling
      • Time Sampling
        • Involves recording behaviour within a pre-established time frame
        • Effective in reducing number of observations that have to be made
        • However, times that behaviour is sampled may be unrepresentative


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