The different types of observation method include:
Controlled Observation: This kind of observation takes place in a controlled setting with every condition under the control of the experimenter. The experimenter decides upon the conditions and their variability. The experimenter decides the duration of the experiment with every step under control.
Naturalistic observation: In naturalistic observation, the experimenter observes the participants in their natural settings. The experimenter observes them from a distance without the knowledge of participants. Since variables are not interfered with, however, and are said to lack power. This lack of control makes testing difficult and observer bias and ethical problems of information leakage are also at risk.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Naturalistic Observation
For naturalistic observation, some advantages include:
Investigators provide significantly higher validity because the investigatorâ€™s expertise directly comes from the real-world study of subjects.
Observing people in the setting can lead to behavioral observations that can never occur in laboratory settings contributing potentially to deeper knowledge.
In a laboratory, the investigator will research things that would be impossible or unlawful to repeat. For instance, while this would be inappropriate to study the way people deal with the effects of violence by manipulating exposure in a laboratory, researchers can gather data on this subject by observing participants in a support network.
In some cases, there can be a range of disadvantages, including:
Generally, naturalistic observation studies need a small number of situations to be studied. As a result, the subjects being tested are restricted to specific genders, races, ethnicities, and perhaps other attributes which means that sample research findings should not be generalized to the community overall.
Investigators seem unable to track different variables, making studies on naturalistic observation less precise and more difficult to imitate.
Usually, naturalistic observation experiments require the observation of a few environments. As a consequence, the subjects being tested are confined to certain ages, races, ethnicities, or other features that suggest that the outcomes of a sample could not be applied to the population as a whole.
Investigators are unable to monitor various factors, making naturalistic observation experiments less accurate and harder to reproduce. The loss of accountability over external variables also makes this difficult to identify the cause of the examiner’s observed behavior
Data Collection in Naturalistic Observation
To collect and document data from naturalistic observation, researchers use various methods. For instance, researchers might write how many times in a given period, a certain activity happened or take a video recording of topics. The following points highlight a few methods of collecting data in naturalistic observation.
Audio or video recordings: The investigators may also choose to create audio or video recordings of each observation session, depending on the type of behavior being observed.
Observer Narrative: The investigator can write notes that can be referred back to during the session. From the notes, researchers will gather data and identify behavior habits.
Tally Counts: The researcher writes down when such actions have happened, and also how many occasions.
Environmental Factors Influence Measurement Results
The environment in which measurements and configurations are conducted will affect the ambiguity of the results of the measurement. The measurement results can be affected by variables such as temperature, humidity, pressure, force, vibration, tension, strain, lighting, and several other factors. Some experiments are more susceptible than others to such environmental conditions. This is important for knowledge related to a particular discipline or method of measurement that is being associated.
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