Naturalistic observation can also be used to verify is the external validity, permitting researchers to examine whether study findings generalize to real world scenarios. Naturalistic observation may also be conducted in lie of structured experiments when implementing an on the experiment would be too costly.
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There are several disadvantages and limitations to naturalistic observation. One is that it does not allow researchers to make causal statements about the situations they observe.
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For this reason, behavior can only be described, not explained. Furthermore, there are ethical concerns related to observing individuals without their consent. One way to avoid this problem is to debrief subjects after observing them, and ask for their consent then, before using the observations for research. This tactic would also help avoid one of the pitfalls of overt observation, in which observers ask for consent before observation has started.
In these situations, when subjects know they are being watched, they may alter their behavior in an attempt to make themselves look more admirable. Naturalistic observation may also be time consuming, sometimes requiring dozens of observation sessions lasting large parts of each day to collect information on the behavior of interest.
Lastly, because behavior is perceived so subjectively, it's possible that different observers notice different things, or draw different conclusions from their observations. Most psychological research uses observation with some component of intervention. Reasons for intervening include:to precipitate or cause an event that normally occurs infrequently in nature or is difficult to observe; to systematically vary the qualities of a stimulus event so as to investigate the limits of an organism's response; to gain access to a situation or event that is generally closed to scientific observation; to arrange conditions so that important antecedent events are controlled and consequent behaviors can be readily observed; and to establish a comparison by manipulating independent variables to determine their effects on behavior.
Participate observation is characterized as either undisguised or disguised. In undisguised observation, the observed individuals know that the observer is present for the purpose of collecting info about their behavior. This technique is often used to understand the culture and behavior of groups or individuals.
This technique is often used when researchers believe that the individuals under observation may change their behavior as a result of knowing that they were being recorded.
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There are several benefits to doing participant observation. Firstly, participant research allows researchers to observe behaviors and situations that are not usually open to scientific observation. Furthermore, participant research allows the observer to have the same experiences as the people under study, which may provide important insights and understandings of individuals or groups.
Firstly, participant observers may sometimes lose their objectivity as a result of participating in the study. This usually happens when observers begin to identify with the individuals under study, and this threat generally increases as the degree of observer participation increases. Secondly, participant observers may unduly influence the individuals whose behavior they are recording. This effect is not easily assessed, however, it generally more prominent when the group being observed is small, or if the activities of the participant observer are prominent.
Lastly, disguised observation raises some ethical issues regarding obtaining information without respondents' knowledge. The dilemma here is of course that if informed consent were obtained from participants, respondents would likely choose not to cooperate.
Development of the Brief Romantic Relationship Interaction Coding Scheme (BRRICS)
Structured observation represents a compromise between the passive nonintervention of naturalistic observation, and the systematic manipulation of independent variables and precise control characterized by lab experiments. Structured observation is frequently employed by clinical and developmental psychologists, or for studying animals in the wild. One benefit to structured observation is that it allows researchers to record behaviors that may be difficult to observe using naturalistic observation, but that are more natural than the artificial conditions imposed in a lab.
However, problems in interpreting structured observations can occur when the same observation procedures are not followed across observations or observers, or when important variables are not controlled across observations. In field experiments, researchers manipulate one or more independent variables in a natural setting to determine the effect on behavior.
This method represents the most extreme form of intervention in observational methods, and researchers are able to exert more control over the study and its participants. However, confounding may decrease internal validity of a study, and ethical issues may arise in studies involving high-risk. Indirect observation can be used if one wishes to be entirely unobtrusive in their observation method.
This can often be useful if a researcher is approaching a particularly sensitive topic that would be likely to elicit reactivity in the subject. There are also potential ethical concerns that are avoided by using the indirect observational method. The investigation of physical trace evidence involves examining the remnants of the subject's past behavior. These remnants could be any number of items, and are usually divided into two main categories.
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Couple Observational Coding Systems will be of interest to researchers studying couple interactions as well as clinicians who work with couples.