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49 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Scientific Observation
systematic recording of behavior, events, or arrangements of physical objects as they are witnessed. Four conditions must be met to qualify as “scientific” observation, Purpose, Systematic planning, Systematic recording, and Accuracy
the research serves a fundamental research
Systematic planning
scientific observation is planned methodically according to some set of procedures, rules of measurement, and so on
Systematic recording
scientific observation is precisely and completely recorded and related to propositions or hypotheses rather than to merely interesting curiosities.
scientific observation Is subjected to checks or controls for both validity and reliability
Observable phenomena
– there are seven conventional classifications of observable phenomena
Physical objects, Temporal patterns, Spatial relations, Expressive behavior, Verbal behavior, Human actions, and Records—verbal or pictorial
Records—verbal or pictorial
includes documents, photos, illustrations, graphics, etc.
Human actions
what people do such as patterns of aggressive driving
Verbal behavior
what people say or don’t say—travelers waiting in line
Expressive behavior
body language, tone of voice, and other nonverbal behavior
Spatial relations
office arrangements, distances between desks, traffic patterns
Temporal patterns
time lapses between events, arriving early, late, or on time
Physical objects
what people have in their pantry or garbage, patterns of wear
Types of Observation
there are two broad types or classes of observation; Human and mechanical observation
Human observation
when the situation or behavior to be recorded is not easily predicted
Mechanical observation
when the situation or behavior to be recorded is routine, predictable, repetitive, or programmatic
Great Advantage of Human Observation
the researcher is studying primarily nonverbal behavior so the data are not as subject the distortions, inaccuracies, and other biases such as falsification or unconscious misrepresentation.
Limitations of human observation
there are also several shortcomings to human observation; Issue of privacy, Thoughts and feelings, Interpretation, Too much to observe, and Limited time
Thoughts and feelings
can’t tell for sure what’s going on in a person’s head—skilled observers can only make inferences
an single action can mean many things—the observer’s own biases and baggage introduce subjectivity
Too much to observe
too much happening too fast—can’t catch it all in real time
Limited time
only short periods an be observed which may or may not be representative of the total
Issue of privacy
if observees don’t know the purpose of the research there may be issues of deception and invasion of privacy
Supplementary Evidence
the data from observational studies—with videotape or one-way mirrors—of what people are doing in role-playing sessions or focus groups can add valuable supplementary insights into people’s “true feelings.”
Communication is behavior that results in exchange of meaning
Direct Observation
a straightforward attempt to observe and record what naturally occurs—that is, the investigator does not create an artificial situation
Errors associated with direct observation
Observer bias, Recording error, Misinterpretation, and
Contrived observation
Contrived observation
observation in which the investigator creates an artificial environment or situation in order to test a hypothesis
Recording error
failing to follow guidelines such as not recording every detail
misreading ambiguous signs such as what a smile means—could mean pleasure or could mean amusement
Observer bias
distortions of measurement resulting from the cognitive behavior or actions of the witnessing observer
What to Observe
The participants themselves, the setting, the purpose, social behavior, and frequency and duration
The participants themselves
age, gender, occupation, etc., but more importantly what is revealed by their dress, symbols, language
The setting
Expectations, Atmosphere, and Location
Agenda and Surface and hidden agendas
Social Behavior
Who talks to whom, norms, listening, attitudes, and effectiveness
Frequency and Duration
What events occurred, how long they lasted, is the pattern recurring or unique, what events preceded, etc.
Participant observation
the observer gains firsthand knowledge by being in the social situation. The participant observer could be a passive player, a facilitator, a consultant or intervener, or an active participant
Ethical issues
a number of ethical issues with respect to human and social observation revolve around questions concerning “hidden” observers and entrapment as in contrived observations.
Observation of Physical Objects
Observation of physical phenomena and the study of physical objects can reveal surprising insights into a research problem obtainable in no other way
Physical trace evidence
visible marks or tangible evidence of past actions or events (i.e. Worn books in a library—indicate the most popular volumes)
Advantage of physical trace evidence
gets past problem of what people say they buy or consume versus what is in their pantries.
Content Analysis
the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of the manifest content of communication
Manifest content
analyzing what can be seen, coded or scored in some fashion.
reducing the content to some degree of categorical or numerical measurement
using a formalized and standardized procedure or protocol followed by all coders of the information
making the analysis free of subjective bias or misinterpretation
Advantages of content analysis
Enables the reduction of such communication media as advertisements, TV shows, letters, contracts, responses to projective techniques, dreams, conversations, and so on to themes, special interests, hidden agendas, wishes, hopes, frustrations, needs, and the like and Provides insights into conscious and unconscious feelings, attitudes, and behavioral tendencies
Mechanical Observations
Television Monitoring, Website traffic, Physiological monitoring (i.e. voice pitch analysis, eye-tracking, etc.), and Scanners and Barcodes