1. What is naturalistic observation? How does a researcher collect data when conducting naturalistic observation research?
2. Why are the data in naturalistic observation research primarily qualitative?
3. Distinguish between participant and nonparticipant observation; between concealed and nonconcealed observation.
4. What is systematic observation? Why are the data from systematic observation primarily quantitative?
5. What is coding system? What are some important considerations when developing a coding system?
1. A naturalistic observation is a observation in which a person or subject to be observed is studied under its natural habitat. In this case the observer does not manipulate the study. The researcher does not interfere with the behavior of the subject. In this kind of research the main difference is that the environment is not being manipulated by the researcher and also it was not created by them (Angrosino, 2007). The main task of this kind of research is to collect a systematic observation. The relationship among variables is also measured with naturalistic observation. The advantages of this research is that it allows the researcher collect information exactly how it occurs in real world without creating an artificial situation.
While collecting data by naturalistic observation, the researcher may use various techniques. The first method applied is using tally marks in which the observer marks the number of times the subject is doing a particular thing. The different characteristic is also marked (Cherry, 2015). The second method is that the researcher may actually take the video or audio recordings of the subject in their natural environment. By which the researcher will be able to collect authenticate information.
2. Qualitative research is a method employed when we wish to gather an in-depth understanding of the human behavior. It explores on the fact that why a decision is made and how it is made. The complex human behavior could not be properly understood by the easier quantitative methods, thus the qualitative research is developed to study in depth, the human characteristics. The people who engage in qualitative study support the inductive style while looking at the researches. Inductive research is to find a strong proof for the conclusion to be true (Denzin & Lincoln, 2005). Thus naturalistic observation is very much familiar to the qualitative method of collecting data. In naturalistic observation the data collected is by personal interaction. The qualitative method also uses personal interaction and is mainly collected by interviews, focus group, observations and action research. There are three kinds of ways in which the observer participates in the study. It can be non reactive, reactive and participant mode.
3. A participant observation is one in which the researcher or the observant tries to be an active participant of the group being studied. It is an extensively used methodology. It is used to collect data of processes, cultures and people in the qualitative research. The advantages of using this kind of observation is that it allows the researcher to collect a detailed description which includes situations, behaviors, events and intentions that are understood by studying one particular subject (DeWalt & DeWalt, 2011). From the time a child is born he or she actually participates in the observations being made. Where as a non participant observation is a technique in which the observer studies the subject but does not actively take part in the study. This method is used when a researcher does a case study. The researcher does not interact with the subject, but observes them fro a distant by using mirrors or cameras.
Concealed observation is preferable when the subject may get aware of the presence of the researcher or the observer (Barnet & Bedau, 2005). If the subject gets aware of the observer then it may alter or influence their behaviors. A non concealed observation is preferred when ethical considerations come into viewpoint. The ethical considerations may be case of invasion or piracy.
4. Systematic observations are a study which reduce or eliminates biasness. This type of data collection method uses quantitative method of data collection (Singh, 2013). Systematic observation includes the stud being carried out in schools, laboratories, and workplace. The rules and guidelines of carrying out the research is being laid out before the start of the research.
Quantitative research is based on numbers. The data collected for quantitative research can be subjective as the numbers and statistics are also guided by the questions being asked. This method includes asking people about the research in a structured way (Creswell, 2003). Asking questions in a structured way helps to generate statistics and facts which can guide the researcher. It is also to be noted that, to get a fair statistical data, the researcher must target a large number of people. In order to do that the researcher must carry out the process systematically.
5. A coding system is a process in which the data is categorized in such a way so that it helps both the qualitative as well as the quantitative research. Coding is an exploratory technique of problem solving (Lausberg, 2013). The classification of data and information is important while preparing inputs for the computers. Things that must be kept in mind wile applying a coding system is that one category must have only one coding and the code must be consistent. Coding is done by assigning a phrase, number, symbol or word to the coding category.
6. A case study is an in-depth, up-close and detailed study of a subject. The main task of case study is to undertake a problem that has to be solved. In a case study every aspect of the life of the subject is analyzed. The subject of the case study can be an organization, individual or an event (Yin, 2003). Case studies present a complex, contextually rich and realistic situations. They may also contain conflicts, problems and dilemma which the researcher must negotiate.
Case studies are used to understand the complex issues. Case studies also add strength and experience to the previous research. Moreover case studies are a learning tool for the students and people. They learn to make decisions and evaluate problems.
A psychobiography is the understanding of historically significant personnel, such as political leaders, artists by applying psychological theories and research. Psychobiography uses a prototype scene based on the life of the personality so they serve as models of personality pattern (Schultz, 2005). Often the researchers use a recently deceased person or a person who has deceased long back but had an impact on the society. By using them as the subject of the study, the researcher tries to find the inner psychology of the people.
7. Archival research is a method which involves finding out evidences from archival records. Archival records are historical records. They include the primary source data that have been collected over a period of time. This type of research is more complex in nature. They consume time since the old historical records are analyzed rather than collecting data from the library or the internet. The advantage of this kind of research is that they are unique, vibrant and fresh (Frisch, 2012). Archival data is often used in legal cases for internal records and references. Archival data can be classified as public data, private data and private records.
The major sources of archival data are: Data that are collected by the government agencies. Moreover data collected by the academic institutions are also classified as archival data. Data from industries, research organization and business are other sources of archival data. Archived data are often kept in paper files or even CDs and DVDs. Data collected by other for another research Is also the source of archival data.
8. Content analysis is a method of describing a spoken, written or visual communication. Content analysis provides a description which is quantitative in nature. In content analysis, the artifacts of communication are examined by the researchers. These are basically the transcriptions or written documents of the verbal communication. It refers to the boundless set of diverse research techniques and methods (Franzosi, 2008). The content analysis must include the following information. What type of data is being analyzed, and how are the data defined. The population of the study from where the data is drawn must be mentioned.
Angrosino, M. (2007). Naturalistic observation. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.
Barnet, S., & Bedau, H. (2005). Current issues and enduring questions. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.
Cherry, K. (2015). The Pros and Cons of Naturalistic Observation. About.com Education. Retrieved 13 February 2015, from https://psychology.about.com/od/nindex/g/naturalistic.htm
Creswell, J. (2003). Research design. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.
Denzin, N., & Lincoln, Y. (2005). The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
DeWalt, K., & DeWalt, B. (2011). Participant observation. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.
Franzosi, R. (2008). Content analysis. London: SAGE Publications.
Frisch, S. (2012). Doing archival research in political science. Amherst, N.Y.: Cambria Press.
Lausberg, H. (2013). Understanding Body Movement. Frankfurt: Peter Lang GmbH, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften.
Schultz, W. (2005). Handbook of psychobiography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Singh, K. (2013). Capacity building for the planning, assessment and systematic observations of forests. Berlin: Springer.
Yin, R. (2003). Case study research. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.