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Resourcd File

  1. 1. Key Features of the observational method • Data is collected by observing (watching) participants and recording (writing down) what they do and say. • Sometimes the observer is present (overt) and sometimes they are hidden away (covert) • Other recording techniques may be used, including CCTV • Observations may be conducted own their own or as a part of an experiment. • Observations can be used to collect both qualitative and quantitative data.
  2. 2. Different types of observation: • • • • • • • Controlled Natural - Piliavin Participant - Piliavin Overt Covert - Piliavin StructuredUnstructured - Milgrim
  3. 3. Controlled Observations • These are conducted in a controlled environment such as a lab or a classroom. • They are usually part of an experiment. • There is control over the participants – They have selected the participants – They have selected their conditions. • The participants have particular tasks to do. • (ecological validity?)
  4. 4. Natural Observations • These are conducted in a natural environment. • The researcher has no control over who participates or what the participants do. • (ecological validity?)
  5. 5. Participant observations • This a type of natural observation. • The researcher takes an active role by participating within the group being observed. • They are usually confederates who participate in the study on the behalf of the experimenter. • (ethics?)
  6. 6. Overt observations • Any observation conducted ny the experimenter when the participant knows they are being observed. • They are open about the observation. • (demand characteristics?)
  7. 7. Covert Observations • Any observation, controlled or natural, in which the participants are not aware that they are being observed. • They are conducted in secret. • Covert = James Bond! • (ethics?)
  8. 8. Unstructured Observations • In an unstructured observation, the observer simply notes down anything and everything that they observe or think is important. • This can be descriptions of participants behavious, conversations or how the participants appear to be feeling, or their reactions to events. • (observer bias?)
  9. 9. We are now going to watch 3 videos of observations • We are going to see two Structured and 1 unstructured observation clip. • What might be the features of a structured observation? • How do they differ from what we already know about unstructured observation? • What other types of observation did we see?
  10. 10. Structured observations • In a structured observation they have a predetermined observation schedule and a predetermined list of catergories. • They can have a time sample or and event sample schedule.
  11. 11. Time sampling • The observer decides in advance not only the duration (how long) of the observation. • They then subdivide the time into time points or intervals. • They record what they observe at each time point/during each interval. • For example, this can be what participants are doing every minute on the minute. • For this type of observation, they would need a stop watch.
  12. 12. Event sampling • The researcher has a pre-determined list of behaviour categories and they keep a tally by noting down each time a behaviour occurs. • Event sampling is more practical that time sampling if there are several participants under observation. • It is also more useful if the aim of the study is to assess frequency (how often) of a certain participant event.
  13. 13. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the different types of observation? • Fill in the gaps!

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