Introduction toObservational StudiesPresented by Ruth Ronan and Andrea SicariAdapted from "Using Observation to Evaluate Extension Programs" by Paul McCawley, Universityof Idaho
Presentation Outline Observational study defined Types of observational studies Observation study examples
ObservationA type of datacollection thatinvolves thewatching, inspecting,and taking note ofbehaviors and theenvironment.
Observational Studies Method When to Use Time Required Cost Resources Required Conduct or Analyze HRD Management Implement DataObservations Used for Low Low to Low Time conducting medium strategic, job and Availability of task analysis or individuals knowledge and skills Knowledge of the assessment. performance to Document be observed performance. Observe Observation form frequencey of performance. Document amount of time taken to perform a task
Qualitative or UnstructuredObservation In qualitative research, a hypothesis is not needed to begin research. “participant observation” It relies on the skills of the observer to recognize and record, behaviors. Used to obtain an initial feel for a situation.
Quantitative or StructuredObservation Requires a hypothesis before research can begin. Observers are trained to count, record, and summarize data about predetermined behaviors. Can be conducted after unstructured observation to increase the reliability of observations and provide an accurate way to report data. Reduces the potential for bias.
Observational Situations SITUATION: People Watching People EXAMPLE:Observers stationed insupermarkets watchconsumers check outtheir groceries. Thepurpose is to see howmuch “prepared” vs.“fresh” food ispurchased.
Tips for Unobtrusive Observation Observe: be quiet, watch, understand Dont explain Dont ask the subjects opinion Dont defend the design Dont apologize Dont suggest Dont contradict or agree with your subject: stay neutral
ReferencesAbrams, Bill. 2000. Observational Research Handbook: Understanding How Consumers Live with Your Product. McGraw-Hill.Medley, D. M. & Mitzel, H. E. 1963. Measuring Classroom Behavior by Systematic Observation. In N. L. Gage (ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching (pp.247-328). Chicago: Rand McNally.Gupta, K. et al. 2007. A Practical Guide to Needs Assessment. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons.