Observational methods

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  • Created by: The Shrew
  • Created on: 17-01-16 14:43
Used if
practical and ethical considerations mean no control over variables
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Observation without intervention
Naturalistic observation
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Animal studies
Darwin- HMS Beagle/ Jane Goodall's chimps/ Diane Fossey's mountain gorillas
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Advantages and Disadvantages
Real world/ external validity/ complex situations/ develop theories/ Time consuming/ expensive/ describes behaviour not causes/ not useful for specific hypothesis
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Observation with manipulation
Event that's uncommon or difficult to observe/ vary quality of stimulus/ add or manipulate IV
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Participant observation
Researcher both observes and participates
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Hunter S. Thompson- Year with Hell's angels/ Jennifer Lois- 6 years with search and rescue team/ Danny Wilcos- 3 years with AA
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John Howard Griffin- weeks disguised as African American/ Rosenthal
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Structured observation
Cause an event or set up situation/ no control for variables/ check list or coding scheme- Ainsworth, Bandura, Lorenz
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Field experiments
Controlled experiment in natural seeting
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Latane and Darley
Bystander reaction to crime
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Milgram et al
Reactions of people in queue to pushers in
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Crusco and Wetzel
Waitress touching
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How helpful people are to lost kids in cities or towns
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Time sampling
Random or systematic
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Event sampling
specific events/ behaviours for observations
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Situation sampling
specific behaviour in different locations/ external validity plus generalisation
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Inter-observer reliability
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Observer influence
Reactivity/ observer bias
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Socially normative behaviour/ demand characteristics/ Hawthorn effect- Landsberger
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Controlling reactivity
Unobtrusive measurement/ disguised observation/ habituation or desensitisation/ indirect measurement
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Expectancy effects
Knowledge of hypothesis/ previous research- blind observer
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Observation without intervention


Naturalistic observation

Card 3


Animal studies


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Card 4


Advantages and Disadvantages


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Card 5


Observation with manipulation


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