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Sehar Afroz

Introduction to naturalistic observation

Advantages of naturalistic observation Disadvantages of naturalistic observation

Introduction to naturalistic observation

Method used commonly by psychologists and other social scientists. Utilized in situations where conducting lab research is unrealistic or cost prohibitive. Involves observing subjects in a natural environment without intervention. Researchers take great care to avopid interfering with the behavior they are observing by using unobtrusive methods.

In the context of a naturalistic observation the environment in no way being manipulated by the observer nor was it created by the observer.
It differs from structured observation in that it involves looking at a behavior as it occurs in its natural setting with no attempts at intervention on the part of the researcher.

Advantages of naturalistic observation

It allows researchers to study things that cannot be manipulated in a lab due to ethical concern. It can help support the external validity of research Data gathered can be highly reliable The analyst is able to see what is being done Observation is less expensive compared to other technique Allows the systems analyst to do work measurement.

People may behave differently when they know they are being watched People may try to behave in a certain way in order to conform to what they think the researcher expects to see. Different observers may draw different conclusions from the same witnessed behavior Some activities may take place at odd times; it might be inconvenience for the system analyst.

Disadvantages of naturalistic observation

The tasks being observed are subjected to types of interruptions. Some task may not be in the manner in which they are observed Sometimes people act temporarily and perform their job correctly when they are being observed; they might actually violate the standard of manner.

Disadvantages of naturalistic observation

Sadaf Altaf

Data collection methods in naturalistic observation How data is collected in naturalistic observation?

Tally counts: The observer writes down when and how many times certain behaviors occurred Observer narratives: The observer may take notes during the session and then go back later to try to collect data and discern behavior patterns from these notes. Audio or video recordings: Depending upon the type of behavior being observed, the researchers might also decide to make actual audio or video-taped recordings of each observation session.

Data collection methods in naturalistic observation

Time sampling:

How the data is collected?

Involves taking samples at different intervals of time, which may be random or systematic. This technique is used for behaviors which are longer in duration. Time sampling is similar to interval recording in that the observation time is divided into intervals, however in time sampling, the behavior is recorded only if it occurs at the end of the time period. When the specified amount of time has expired, the observer looks at the participant and determines whether or not the behavior is occurring. In general, this technique is used for behaviors which are longer in duration .

Situation sampling: Involves observing a behavior in a variety of different situations and settings. Using brief narratives, the observer records what happened, how, when and where it happened in a factual manner. The participant's response to an incident and behavior in a given setting are also recorded.

Naturalistic observation relies on one or more observers entering a specific research environment, observing behavior, and recording it in a reliable manner Researchers take great care not to alter or influence the behaviors they are observing. Naturalistic observation studies generally have high external validity. Chimpanzees in other natural situations are likely to behave the same as chimpanzees at Gombe. When conducting naturalistic observation, observers must take care that their observations are unbiased They should also address the question of whether their samples are typical of the population

Sehar Fatma

Conducting naturalistic observation Examples of naturalistic observation

Conducting naturalistic observation

Participants: Either humans or animals can be the subjects of

naturalistic observation. The methodological issues are availability of participants, respecting their privacy, and whether observations will be conducted from an open or concealed position. Researchers also have to decide whether or not to conduct their observations openly . Apparatus: It can be extremely simple or very complex i .e a pad, pencil, and stopwatch. In complex, observers might use video cameras, motion detectors, infrared detectors for observations in darkness, or other aids.The task is to reliably record the behavior of the participants

Procedure: Procedures for conducting naturalistic

observations vary widely. The key is to find and record behaviors in psychologically interesting situations

Results: Naturalistic observations may produce either

quantitative or qualitative data. Afterward, researchers summarize the commonalities and themes as results.

Ethics: In any research method, ethics must always be

considered in planning, conducting, and reporting naturalistic observation research of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (APA, 2003) specifically excludes naturalistic observation from the requirement of informed consent.For animals researchers conducting naturalistic observations on animals should not cause animals pain or stress

Examples of naturalistic observation

Sex Differences in Children's Risk-Taking Behavior Popular belief has it that males are bigger risk takers than females. Is this true? Because of a lack of empirical evidence on this, Ginsburg and Miller (1982) set out to find out if young boys or girls are more willing to take risks. They chose the naturalistic observation method because they wanted to study this behavior in the real world rather than the laboratory. The setting they chose was the San Antonio Zoo. They operationally defined risk-taking and measured it in four ways: riding an elephant petting a burro feeding animals climbing a steep wooden bridge. The investigators recorded the number of boys and girls engaging in these "risky" behaviors. They found that boys engaged in risk-taking behaviors more frequently than girls.

Jane Goodall: Zoologist known for working with chimps. Watched chimps in natural environment. Found behaviors in chimps that humans also engage in:hunt and eat larger animals ,make use of tools ,make war on other chimps.