The Role of Observations in Research
Non-Experimental Research Methods: Naturalistic Observation and the Nature of Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research
Observations give perspective. They can provide information on how people behave and the interactions within the given context (Privitera, 2017). To engage in a naturalistic observation, however, means to observe behaviors that would be expected in the selected environment. For example, if attending a college course, you would expect to see a professor or other teaching model providing some form of engagement that would lead to learning on a given subject. In naturalistic observation, however, you are not manipulating any variables (at least in a direct manner) as the goal is to not impede upon the observations; the goal is to capture the authentic experiences of the entire context, however, depending on the context observations may be limited. The text gives an example of gangs and that the natural setting of why some would join one gang in one country is not the same as another, so this would challenge the validity of certain contexts (Privitera, 2017).
Observations do have a unique and valuable role for the data they may elicit. However, they require careful attention to how they are utilized, and as a method, many considerations are needed, especially when identifying what research you desire to study.
This week, you will explore naturalistic observation as a method, considerations for its use, limitations and strengths in design, and potential ethical issues and the nature of trustworthiness, which will be supportive for your work over these next weeks around qualitative design. You are encouraged to take note of the particulars around what makes a study trustworthy in design
Assignment: Evaluate a Possible Observation Scenario
You will have the opportunity to review a scenario and apply the method and critique the process. This week, you will explore the naturalistic observation process as well as areas of trustworthiness. Remember, trustworthiness must be considered for any qualitative/non-experimental design. You are invited to be creative with the scenarios in so far as how they relate to the method of the given week and the questions posed for evaluation.
Here is the scenario:
You are a research psychologist and have initiated a research study to assess how couples relate and communicate with each other in both mundane and conflict situations. For this study, you have opted to create a natural "home" setting at the research laboratory.
In approach to this scenario, prepare a brief paper that evaluates the following:
Explain how you might design the "home" setting. What considerations would you make in developing the environment? Be sure to explain and support your answer.
Determine if this is a natural or contrived research setting. Be sure to explain and support your answer.
Determine how you might operationalize observations. Be sure to explain and support your answer. *Hint: Refer to behavioral categories and ways in which observations may be quantified.
Explain how you might design the setting to facilitate unobtrusive observations.
Interpret how observations could potentially be intrusive in this study. Explain the role intrusiveness would have on the setting and potential results.
Reflect on your experience with this week’s scenario activity and case example.
Support your assignment with at least one scholarly resource. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including seminal articles, may be included.