Observations

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  • Observational Techniques
    • Naturalistic Observation
      • an observation carried out in an everyday setting, in which the investigator does not interfere in any way but merely observes the behaviour(s) in question.
      • Strengths: realism and natural behaviour, the researcher can observe behaviour, which occurs, in a natural setting, likely to have high ecological validity
      • Limitations: lack of control of variables, cause and effect relationships cannot be established.
    • Controlled Observation
      • observe behaviour but under conditions where certain variables have been organised by the researcher.
      • Strengths: due to control, the observer can focus on particular aspects of behaviour
        • Limitations: disturbing natural settings, this means that the setting is no longer natural, lack of validity
    • Overt Observation
      • in both a natural and controlled observation the people being observed may know that their behaviour is being observed.
      • Strengths:more ethical as pps know they are being observed
      • Limitations|: likely to have am effect on naturalness of behaviour
    • Non Participant Observation
      • the observer observes from a distance and does not interact with people being observed
      • Strengths: more objective as the observer is not part of the group
      • Limitations: may not gain special insights into behaviour
    • Participant Observation
      • observations are made by someone who is also participatingin the activity being observed, affecting objectivity
      • Strengths: provide special insights into behaviour from the inside
      • Limitations: these are likely to be overt and have issues with pp awareness, if covert, there are ethical issues
    • Covert Observation:
      • in both a natural and controlled observation the people being observed may not know that their behaviour is being observed.
      • Strengths: pps unaware of being observed so behaviour is more natural
      • Limitations: ethical issue- it is acceptable to observe people in a public place as long as the behaviours being observed are not private
    • Observational Design
      • unstructured observation
        • the researcher records all relevant behaviour but has no system
      • structured observation
        • a] behavioural categories- operationalisation, involves dividing a target behaviour e.g aggression e.g aggression into subset of behaviours
        • sampling procedures
          • event sampling- counting the numbers of times behaviour occurs
          • time sampling- recording behaviours in a given time e.g every 15 mins

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