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AS Psychology (Methodology) > Observations > Flashcards

Flashcards in Observations Deck (36):
1

WHat are observational studies?

Investigations where the researcher observes a situation and records what happens but does not manipulate an independent variable.

2

Give some examples of different types of observational studies.

- Non-participant observations
- Participant observations
- Structured observations
- Unstructured observations

3

What is a non-participant observation?

A type of observational study whereby the researcher does not join in with the activity being observed

4

What is a participant observation?

A type of observational study where the observer is also a participant in the activity being studied.

5

What is the difference between a non-participant and a participant observation.

A non-participant observation is a type of observational study whereby the researcher does not join in with the activity being observed, whereas a participant observation is where the observer is also a participant in the activity being studied.

6

What is useful about participant observations?

Provides more insights about behaviour but does have a problem that the observer may lose some objectivity.

7

What is a structured observation?

Where the researchers design a type of coding scheme to record the participant's behaviour

8

What kind of data generally does a structured observation provide?

Quantitative data

9

What are coding schemes?

Ways of categorising behaviour so that you can code what you observe in terms of how often a type of behaviour appears.

10

What is another name for coding schemes?

Behavioural checklist

11

What is a behavioural checklist?

Ways of categorising behaviour so that you can code what you observe in terms of how often a type of behaviour appears.

12

What are coding schemes/behavioural checklists?

Ways of categorising behaviour so that you can code what you observe in terms of how often a type of behaviour appears.

13

What happens during behavioural checklists?

The observer simply ticks the relevant category when one of the behaviours occurs.

14

What problem may occur during a behavioural checklist?

When a behaviour occurs which fits more than one category such as 'carries on working' whilst at the same time 'listens to music'.

15

a) What problem may occur during a behavioural checklist?
b) How can this problem be solved?

a) When a behaviour occurs which fits more than one category such as 'carries on working' whilst at the same time 'listens to music'.
b) Making behavioural categories mutually exclusive, but this can be difficult to do with a checklist

16

Explain the term 'mutually exclusive'.

When behavioural categories do not overlap, however this is difficult to do with a checklist.

17

What should behavioural checklists never include?

Gender as a category

18

Why might researchers use a sampling technique in their observations?

It may be difficult to record everything.

19

Give two examples of sampling techniques.

- Event sampling
- Time sampling

20

What is event sampling?

It consists of the researcher recording an event every time it happens (e.g. ticking a box every time somebody eats in class)

21

What is a problem with event sampling?

As with time sampling, if too many observations happen at once it may be difficult to record everything and so behaviours may be missed

22

What is time sampling?

Occurs when the researcher decides on a time (e.g. every 5 seconds) and then records what behaviour is occurring at that time.

23

What is a problem with time sampling?

Some behaviours will be missed and therefore the observation may not be representative

24

When designing a procedure for an observation you conduct yourself, what is it important to do?

Decide on the categories of behaviour to observe and how you will code them, using either event or time sampling.

25

What does the term 'reliability' refer to?

How consistent a measuring device is.

26

When is a measurement said to be reliable or consistent?

If the measurement can produce similar results if used again in similar circumstances.

27

What is a common way of assessing the reliability of observations?

To use inter-rater reliability, which involves comparing the ratings of two or more observers and checking for agreement in their measurements

28

What is inter-rater reliability used for?

Assessing reliability of observations

29

What is inter-rater reliability?

Comparing the ratings of two or more observers and checking for agreement in their measurements

30

Give a way of improving the reliability of an observational study.

To ensure that the categories are clear, or that observers are well trained in the use of checklists. You could also use a pilot study.

31

What does the term 'validity' refer to?

Whether a study measures or examines what it claims to measure or examine.

32

Why might observations lack validity?

- If participants are aware they are being observed they may behave in the way they feel they should behave (demand characteristics)
- Observer bias (the observer may be influenced by expectations and not record objectively what happened)

33

How might validity of an observation be improved?

- Categories could have been coded in a different or clearer way
- Observers could be kept unaware of aims of the observation
- More observations could be employed

34

Give 2 strengths of observations.

- Lots of ecological validity, so results can be generalised to explain how behaviour would be affected in real life situations
- Low risk of demand characteristics as participants are unaware they are being observed. Results therefore more valid as behaviour is natural

35

Give 3 weaknesses of observations.

- Lack of control over confounding variables, so it's difficult to establish cause and effect as other variables may affect behaviour
- Observer bias (observer may interpret behaviour subjectively based on what they expect to happen. Results therefore not reliable as different people may interpret behaviour differently, so inter-relater reliability would need to be checked.)
- Can be considered unethical due to lack of consent and invasion of privacy if observation occurs in a private setting

36

How might you rectify the ethical consensual issue in observations?

Use a poster in a public place stating that observations may occur: gains consent as people can choose to opt out if they wish. You could debrief in the same way by putting up a poster a few weeks after explaining the results of the observations.