Flashcards in Research Methods: observations Deck (33):
What is a naturalistic observation?
This is where the participants' normal everyday behaviour is recorded in their own environment.
What is a controlled observation?
This involves setting up an artificial setting in which a particular aspect of behaviour ban be studied in a way that would not be possible during a naturalistic observation.
What are the advantages of a naturalistic observation?
high degree of natural behaviour so findings can be generalized to everybody
less demand characteristics
What is a disadvantage of naturalistic observations?
Hard to control variables so can't establish cause and effect.
What are the advantages of a controlled observation?
High levels of control so easier to establish cause and effect
easier to replicate?
What are the disadvantages of controlled observations?
lack of ecological validity due to artificial setting
What is a covert observation?
those you are observing don't know that they are being observed
What is an overt observation?
Those you are observing know that they are being observed.
What are the advantages of a covert observation?
lack of demand characteristics so results are more valid
What are the disadvantages of a covert observation?
lack of informed consent produces ethical issues
What are the advantages of an overt observation?
ethically sound as participants know they are being observed and have given informed consent
What are the disadvantages of an overt observation?
Participants may not behave naturally which could lead to demand characteristics.
What is a participant observation?
This is where the researcher observes people whilst join into the activities and situation.
What is a non-participant observation?
This is where the researcher remains outside of the group and observes.
What is an advantage of a participant observation?
greater insight gained by being part of the group hence increased validity to findings
What is the disadvantage of a participant observation?
objectivity of observations are affected by being part of the group-investigator effects
What is the advantage of non-participant observations?
lack of direct involvement ensures greater objectivity
What is the disadvantage of non-participant observation?
data lacks richness that is provided by participant observations such as motivation of participants.
What is a structured observation?
this is where the researcher looks for target behaviours and produce quantitative data.
What is an unstructured observation?
this is where the researcher writes down everything they see and produces qualitative data.
What are the advantages of a structured observation?
using behavioural categories makes the recording of data easier and more systematic.
produces quantitative data so it is easier to analyse.
more objective and scientific
What are the disadvantages of a structured observation?
less rich and detailed
What are the advantages of an unstructured observation?
rich and in-depth detail
behaviour can be put into context
What are the disadvantages of an unstructured observation?
uses qualitative data which may be hard to analyse and record
greater risk of observer bias as they may only record things that 'catch their eye' and these may not be important/useful.
For a target behaviour to be able to studied, what should it be?
observable and measureable
What should a researcher make sure that his behavioural categories are before starting an observation?
categories must be unambiguous
all possible forms of the target behaviour should be included to make sure there is no 'dustbin' category.
categories should not overlap
categories must be observable, measurable and sel-evident.
What are the two sampling methods in observations?
What is event sampling?
this involves counting the number of times a particular behaviour (the event) in a target individual or group
What is time sampling?
this involves recording behaviour within a pre-established time frame.
What are the advantages of event sampling?
useful when the target behaviour or event happens infrequently and could be missed if time sampling was used.
What are the disadvantages of event sampling?
if the specified event is too complex then important details may be overlooked.
What are the advantages of time sampling?
is effective in reducing the number of observations that have to be made