Observational Technique

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  • Observational Techniques
    • Naturalistic Observations
      • The observation of behaviour in a natural setting ( where the behaviour normally occurs)
      • + Behaviour that is observed is natural so high external validity
      • - There is not control over the situation so harder to establish cause-and-effect relationship.
    • Controlled Observations
      • Where the researcher tries to control certain variables and pp's are aware they're being observed (demand characteristic)
      • + Allows for control over extraneous/independent variables.
      • - Artificial setting may produce unnatural behaviour and lower external validity
    • Overt Observation
      • Pp's know they're being watched or recorded.
      • Easy for pp's to work out aim of the study and act due to demand characteristics
      • + Ethically sound as pp's know they're being watched and the purpose of the study
    • Covert Observations
      • Pp's not aware they're being observed as researcher doesn't reveal themself
      • + Less likelihood of demand characteristics so behaviour represents real life
      • - Ethical issues as pp's are not aware they're being observed
    • Participant Observations
      • Researcher takes part of the group or situation being observed.
      • + Observer is more likely to get a true understanding of the behaviour so higher validity
      • - Expectations of the researcher can affect results are it's unlikely the researcher will remain objective
    • Non-participant Observation
      • Behaviour is recorded at a distance so researcher isn't involved in what they're observing.
      • +Likely researcher will remain objective because they're not part of the study
      • - Data lacks true understanding and insight into the behaviour so less validity


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