Observation

Observations notes cards

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  • Created by: Janay
  • Created on: 16-11-10 22:42

Definition of observation

When you observe or watch behaviours to gain a better understanding of the human mind.

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Strength 1 of observation

What people say they do is often different from what they actually do, so observations give a better take on behaviour. This gives researchers a better understanding of behaviour so behaviour can be analysed in more depth.

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Strength 2 of observation

Able to capture spontaneous and unexpected behaviour. This will provide researchers with more information so significant behaviour can be justified and be investigated further.

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Weakness 1 of observation

Observer bias. This can be overcome by training observers to be objective.

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Weakness 2 of observation

Poorly designed checklist reduces reliability. This can be overcome by training researchers to design a checklist that is suitable and well thought out for the investigation.

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Definition of event sampling

The observer keeps count each time a particular behaviour occurs.

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Strength of event sampling

useful when behaviour to be recorded only happens occasionally and might be missed of time sampling is used. This means that all behaviours are recorded so information that is needed can be put into results, this increases reliability.

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Weakness of event sampling

Observer might miss some behaviours of too many happen at once. This can be overcome by having multiple observers so that they can observe behaviours or areas ensuring no behaviours are missed.

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Definition of time sampling

The observer decides on a time interval, such as a minute, then at the end of the interval observers record behaviours that they have observed.

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Strength of time sampling

Reduces the number of observations by using an objective means of sampling. This makes data more reliable as observers are more objective.

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Weakness of time sampling

Observers might forget some behaviours, this reduces reliability. This can be overcome by having multiple observers to they can compare with each other the behaviours they have seen.

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Definition of a structured observation

Plan out what you are going to observe and how you are going to do this such as making a behaviour checklist.

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Strength of structured observation

Allows information not to be over looked by other information otherwise observers might be overwhelmed by a stream of information, this makes data more reliable.

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weakness of structured observation

Having a behaviour checklist might not cover all behaviours that must be investigated. This can be overcome by doing a pilot study to see what behaviours need to be observed.

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Definition of a unstructured observation

Researchers cover all relevant information but has no system.

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Weakness of unstructured observation

Behaviours that are recorded will often be those that are eye-catching to the observer, however these may not be relevant behaviours, decreasing validity. This can be overcome by carrying out a structured observation.

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Definition of controlled observation

Observation is carried out in a controlled environment.

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Strength of controlled observation

Because variables are controlled by researchers, extraneous variables are ruled out. This increases validity.

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Weakness of controlled observation

Participants may not act how they usually would in everyday life because their environment is not the same as it would be when behaving in a particular way. This can be overcome by doing a naturalistic observation

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Definition of naturalistic observation

Observations which are studied in natural situations.

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Strength of naturalistic observation

Participants are more likely to behave naturally and how they would in everyday life because the investigation is carried out in their normal environment. This increases ecological validity.

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Weakness of naturalistic observation

Less control over the extraneous variables meaning behaviours could have been changed because of other unknown variables. This can be overcome by identifying the unknown variables.

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Definition of participant observation

Observers act as partcipants.

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Strength of participant observation

Observers can get a better insight to peoples behaviours such as talking to other participants or watching behaviours from a closer view. This increases ecological validity because observers are getting more of an insight to everyday life behaviour.

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Weakness of participant observation

Observer bias. This can be overcome by training observers to be objective to all participants.

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Definition of non-participant observation

Observers only watch participants acts.

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Strength of non-participant observation

Observers are less likely to effect and situations or behaviours therefore behaviours will be more natural increasing ecological validity.

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Weakness of non-participant observation

Observers may not get a better insight to participants behaviours. This can be overcome by doing a participant observation.

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Definition of direct observation

Reserach that observers have collected.

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Strength of direct observation

You can feel the atmosphere if you are in a room so you can get a better insight to peoples behaviour. This makes information more detailed increasing the validity.

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Weakness of direct observation

Observers may not be able to see all types of behaviour because theyare concentrating on another type of behaviour. This can be overcome having multiple observers to observers different areas of the room or condition.

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Definition of indirect observation

Research that already had been collected.

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Strength of indirect observation

When observing recordings that already have been collected you can pause and rewind behaviours to look at them in more detail so results are more reliable and valid.

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Weakness of indirect observation

Recordings may not have captured all types of behaviours that are relevant for the aim of the investigation. This can be overcome by watching the observation directly and also recording it to make more notes.

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Definition of disclosed observation

Participants know they are being observed.

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Strength of disclosed observation

Participants will be more willing to take part in the observation if they know they are being observed. This makes it easier to collect participants for observation.

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Weakness of disclosed observation

Participants might try to make themselves look better meaning behaviours are not natural. This can be overcome by carrying out a undisclosed observation.

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Definition of a undisclosed observation

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Strength of undisclosed observation

As participants are unaware they are being observed they are likely to behave naturally and how they would in everyday life. This increases ecological validity.

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Weakness of undisclosed observation

Ethical issues may arise because observes haven't told participants the true aims of the experiment so this could be seen as an invasion of privacy. This can be overcome by debriefing participants after the experiment.

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Link observation to study

Freud used observation to study infantile sexuality. He used indirect research which was videoed by Han's father, to observe Han's behaviour. Freud discovered that Han's had sexual feelings towards his mother and that he was jealous because he wasn't getting enough attention from his mother. Results showed that Han's had anxiety and phobias which were caused by his mother telling him his penis was going to be cut off and because he was jealous of his sister and father.

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