Observations

Fourth Part of Psychological Investigations

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  • Created by: Georgia
  • Created on: 09-04-12 10:48

Observation Types

Participant Observation: Research method involving direct participation of researcher in events being studied. 

Non-Participant Observation: The observers remain discreet so the behaviour of participants is not affected. 

Disclosed (Overt) Observations: Researchers being open about the reason for their presence in the field of study since the they are given permission by the group to conduct research.

Undisclosed (covert) observation: Researchers participating fully without informing members of a social group for the reasons for their presence thus carried out secretly/undercover. 

Issues:                                                                                                                                                    Reliability: A measurement is said to be reliable or consistent if measurement can produce similar results if used again similar circumstances.                                                                                                                   Validity: Observations could lack validity for a number if reasons. If participant are aware of being observed they may behave in the way they should behave. Validity could also be reduced by observers bias. The observer may be influenced by expectation and not record objectively what happened. 

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Strengths and weaknesses of observation

Strengths: 1) High ecological validity. 2) Can produce extremely rich data.              Weaknesses: 1) Time consuming. 2) Difficult to conclude cause and effect as no variables are being manipulated.   

Strengths: The researcher captures the activities in their natural occurence.          Weaknesses: Limitation of access to what can be fully observed. They can only observe those activities they have an opportunity to watch. 

Strengths: Avoids ethical problems (moral of deceit, obtaining into)                       Weaknesses: Risks of the Hawthrone effect. Undermines validity. 

Strengths: High ecological validity as it is undercover where real behaviour are being observed especially where people are unaware.                                   Weaknesses:1) Lack of control over variables as nothing is being manipulated just held consistent. 2) Extremely difficult replicate. 3) Ethical problems- Perception: without permission. 

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Sampling Types

Time Sampling: Selection of time periods during which observations will take place.                                                                                                       Strengths: 1) Enables observer to collect useful info in short periods of time. 2) Can be used in conjunction with other tools.                                                         Weaknesses: 1) Can only be used for behaviours that do not chance quickly. 2) Observers capacity to distinguish.

Event Sampling: Involves the selection of fundemental behaviours and events.     Strengths: 1) Can discover cause and effects of behaviour. 2) Results can be used to identify appropriate guidance strategies- tallies are quick and efficient requiring little writing.                                                                                                 Weaknesses: 1) Time consuming. 2) Requires skill in coding and recording behaviours. 

Observation studies are where researcher observes a situation and records what happens but does not manipulate an independent variable. They are high in ecological validity as there in no intervention and if observer remains undetected the method avoids problems with demand characteristics. 

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