Advantages of the Observational Method • Collect the original data at the time it occurs • Secure information that participants would ignore because it’s so common it is not seen as relevant • Only method available to collect certain types of data13-7
Advantages of the Observational Method (cont.) • Capture the whole event as it occurs in its natural environment • Participants seem to accept an observational intrusion better than they respond to questioning13-8
Limitations of the Observational Method • Observer or recording equipment must be at the scene of the event when it takes place • Slow process • Expensive process • Most reliable results are restricted to information that can be learned by overt action or surface indicators13-9
Limitations of the Observational Method (cont.) • Research environment is more likely suited to subjective assessment and recording of data than to quantification of events • Limited as a way to learn about the past • Cannot observe rationale for actions, only actions themselves13-10
Relationship between Observer and Participant • Direct or indirect observation • Observer’s presence known or unknown to the participant • Observer is involved or not involved with the participant13-11
Guidelines for Selecting Observers • Ability to concentrate in a setting full of distractions • Ability to remember details of an experience • Ability to be unobtrusive in the observational situation • Ability to extract the most from an observational study13-13
Observation Data Collection • Who • What – Event Sampling – Time Sampling • When • How • Where13-14
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