PSY 220 Ch. 6 Observational Methods

  1. Archival Research
    Using previously compiled information to answer research questions
  2. Case Study
    an observational method that provides a description of an individual
  3. coding system
    a set of rules used to categorize observations
  4. content analysis
    systematic analysis of recorded communications
  5. naturalistic observation
    • Descriptive method in which observations are made in a natural social setting.
    • Also called field observations
  6. participant observation
    a technique of observing a situation where the observer takes an active role in the situation
  7. psychobiography
    a type of case study in which the life of an individual is analyzed using psychological theory
  8. reactivity
    a problem of measurement in which the measure changes the behavior being observed
  9. systematic observation
    • observations of one or more specific variables
    • usually made in a precisely defined setting
  10. Compare quantitative and qualitative methods of describing behavior.
    • Quantitative Research
    • Tends to focus on specific behaviors that can be easily quantified (counted)
    • Investigations include larger samples
    • Conclusions based upon statistical analysis of data

    • Qualitative Research
    • Focuses on people behaving in natural settings and describing their world in their own words
    • Researchers emphasize collecting in-depth information on a relatively few individuals or within a very limited setting
    • Conclusions based on interpretations drawn by the investigator
  11. Describe naturalistic observation and discuss methodological issues such as participation and concealment.
    • Naturalistic observation: The researcher makes observations of individuals in their natural environments (the field)
    • Issues:
    • Participation: the observer may lose the objectivity necessary to conduct scientific observation
    • Concealment: depends on ethical concerns and the nature of the particular group and setting being studied.
  12. Describe systematic observation and discuss methodological issues, such as the use of equipment, reactivity, reliability, and sampling.
    • Systematic observation: careful observation of one or more specific behaviors in a particular setting.
    • Issues:
    • Equipment: Directly observe behavior and code it at the same time
    • -ex: video recording, clipboard, stopwatch
    • Reactivity: Possibility that the presence of the observer will affect people's behaviors
    • Reliability: A measurement reflects true score rather than measurement error
    • Sampling: Samples of behavior taken over an extended period provide more accurate and useful data than single, short observations.
  13. Describe the features of a case study.
    • Individual's history
    • Symptoms
    • Characteristic behavior
    • Reactions to situations
    • Responses to treatment
  14. Describe archival research and the sources of archival data: statistical records, survey archives, and written records.
    • Statistical records: Collected by public and private organizations (U.S. Census Bureau)
    • Survey archives: Data from surveys that are stored on computers and available to researchers who wish to analyze them.
    • Written records: Documents (diaries, letters) that have been preserved by historical societies, ethnographies of other cultures written by anthropologists and public documents as diverse as speeches by politicians or discussion board messages left by Internet users
Card Set
PSY 220 Ch. 6 Observational Methods
Observational Methods Needham Psychology Research Methods