Observation Notes

Notes on Observation Technique, for the AS Psychology Exam for UNIT 1.

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  • Created by: Noura
  • Created on: 18-03-13 09:21
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Cheat Sheet
Observational Methods
The Basics:
Structured Observations
Involves the use of tables, predetermined categories and systematic
sampling
Systematic Sampling
Time Sampling: observations made at regular time intervals and
coded.
Point Sampling: focus on one individual for a set period of time
and record only their behaviour during this period of time.
Event Sampling: record each time a type of behaviour occurs
during a set period.
Strength:
Produces objective data, easy to analyse
Reliable method
Weakness:
Validity, able to manipulate results
Restricts what you are looking for
Observer Schedule
A table that sets out what behaviour is to be recorded

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Cheat Sheet
Weakness:
Subjective
Limited, important data may be missed out
Remedy:
Interrater reliability
More specific in category
Pilot run
Training the observers
Type of Observation
NATURALISTIC: behaviour is studied in a natural situation
Strengths:
Ecologically Valid
Less demand characteristics
Weaknesses:
Less reliable
Unethical
Confounding Variables
CONTROLLED: some variables are controlled/manipulated by the
experimenter
Strengths:
Less confounding variables
More reliable
Weaknesses:
Less ecologically valid
More demand characteristics
Observational Studies may be:…read more

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Cheat Sheet
NON PARTICIPANT: the experimenter observes from the sidelines
Strengths:
Not biased
Shouldn't miss anything (sees everything happening)
Weaknesses:
More Demand characteristics involved
No real insight in to what is happening
PARTICIPANT: observer acts as part of the group being watched
Strengths:
Real insight in to what is happening
Better understanding
Less/ No demand characteristics
Weaknesses:
Observer could influence others
Might miss important detail
No longer impartial
COVERT: participants are not aware they are being observed
Strengths:
Less/No demand characteristics
More valid
Weaknesses:
Unethical…read more

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Cheat Sheet
Accurate
Weaknesses:
More demand characteristics (due to observer effect)
Less Valid
DEFINITIONS:
OBSERVER EFFECT: a form of demand characteristic in which the
presence or assumed presence of an observer leads to the participant
in not acting in a natural manner. May occur in any controlled
observation, overt observation, and nonparticipant observation.
CONFOUNDING VARIABLE : a variable which cannot be controlled &
has an effect on dependent variable.
INTERRATER RELIABILITY: agreement between two or more
observers involved in observations of behaviour.…read more

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