Observation techniques

CASE STUDIES: type of data, time period and methods
Short or long period of time, qualitative, interviews, psychological tests, observations & experiments
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CASE STUDIES: strengths
In-depth data, investigate rare behaviours/experiences, holistic approach important for complex human interaction
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CASE STUDIES: weaknesses
Long-term means expensive, generalisability, use of retrospection
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What is controlled observation?
Where aspects of the situation are controlled or manipulated to observe effects
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Controlled observation strengths
No extraneous variables
Easily replicated
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Controlled observation weaknesses
Lacks ecological validity
Cannot be readily applied to everyday situation
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What is a naturalistic observation?
In settings or context where the target behaviour would usually occur
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Natural observation strengths
High external validity
Can generalise findings
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Natural observation weaknesses
Extraneous variables - difficult to judge patterns of behaviour
Lack of consent and replication is difficult
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What is a covert observation?
Ppts are unaware they are being observed and this behaviour must be occurring anyway for this to be ethical
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Covert strengths
Access to social groups that would not give consent
High validity
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Covert weaknesses
Researcher may not be protected
No consent
Researcher could be biased
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What is an overt observation?
Researcher is open about their intentions and ensures all ppts are aware
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Overt strengths
Avoids ethical issues
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Overt weaknesses
Ppts know the expectations and so could change their behaviour (demand characteristics)
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What is participant observation?
When the researcher joins in the activity and writes notes afterwards
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Participant observation strengths
Insight into viewpoints
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Participant observation weaknesses
Ethical issues - deceit
Time consuming and demanding
Small sample size is hard to generalise
Risk of being too involved - biased data
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What is a non-participant observation?
Researchers chooses not to play any part in what is being observed
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Non-participant observation strengths
More ethical
Researcher is more open-minded
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Non-participant observation weaknesses
Demand characteristics
Time consuming and costly
Accuracy is affected as viewing from a distance
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CASE STUDIES: strengths


In-depth data, investigate rare behaviours/experiences, holistic approach important for complex human interaction

Card 3


CASE STUDIES: weaknesses


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Card 4


What is controlled observation?


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Card 5


Controlled observation strengths


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