Psychology AS OCR (investigations) - Observations

Revision cards covering observations

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  • Created by: Caitlin
  • Created on: 18-05-11 17:41

Different Types of Observation

Controlled and Naturalistic

Naturalisitic observation - observing behaviour in a natural environment

+ High in ecological validity, because of the realistic task/environment making it more useful and applicable in real life.

Controlled observation - observing behaviour in a controlled environment, where some variables are controlled by the researcher, possibly in a lab, reducing the ecological validity of the study.

Participant and Non participant

Participant - where the observer also participates in the task being observed ( this may effect their objectivity and makes it difficult to record behaviour)

Non participant - where the observer is merely watching the behaviour of others and acts as a non-participant and is observing from the "outside".

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Different Types of Observation

Disclosed and Undisclosed

In disclosed (overt) observations, participants know that they are being observed which may alter their behaviour (demand characterisitics).

In undisclosed observations, participants are not aware they are being observed this makes the research more valid as there are no demand characterisitics, however this breaks ethical guidelines such as invasion of privacy and consent.

Direct and Indirect

Direct observations is when data is recorded first hand, indirect is when data is recorded using previously collected data such as Tv ads, newspaper articles, books, reports etc. Making observations using secondary data becomes an indirect observation.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Observational Meth

+ They help us to identify actual behaviour rather than what people say they so.

+ The help preliminary investigations in a new area of research produce hypothesis.

+ They allow us to capture spontaneous and unexpected behaviour.

-Observer bias may leadto unrealiable results as the observers may see what they expect to see.

- Poorly designed behaviour checklists reduces reliablity.

-Ethics (deception, invasion of privacy) is covert

-Doesnt tell us anything about what people think or feel.

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Sampling Behaviour

Time Sampling

This involves observing and recording data in a series of set time intervals. Eg. every 10 seconds.

+ Reduces the number of observations by using an objectives means of sampling behaviour.

- Findings not representative of overall behaviour,reducing the generalisibitly of finding.

Event Sampling

This involves observing and recording data every time it happens.

+ Useful when behaviour only happens occasionally and may be missed if time sampling is used.

- The observer may miss behaviour if overwhelmed with a stream of activity at once.

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