Observational Studies

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Observational Studies

  1. 1. Introduction toObservational StudiesPresented by Ruth Ronan and Andrea SicariAdapted from "Using Observation to Evaluate Extension Programs" by Paul McCawley, Universityof Idaho
  2. 2. Presentation Outline Observational study defined Types of observational studies Observation study examples
  3. 3. ObservationA type of datacollection thatinvolves thewatching, inspecting,and taking note ofbehaviors and theenvironment.
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. 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.
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. Observational Situations SITUATION: People Watching People EXAMPLE:Observers stationed insupermarkets watchconsumers check outtheir groceries. Thepurpose is to see howmuch “prepared” vs.“fresh” food ispurchased.
  8. 8. Observational Situations SITUATION:People WatchingPhenomena EXAMPLE:Observer stationed atthe fair countingvisitors moving invarious directions.
  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 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.

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