Methods of Observing Young Children

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Methods of Observing Young Children
The most popular method of recording child observations is "narrative recording," or a written description of children's actions.

1. Running records (or Descriptive Narrative Record)
A detailed narrative account of behavior recorded in a sequential manner as it happens; Not limited to a particular incident like an anecdotal record; The observer records everything seen.
1. Rich in detail;
2. Focuses on all behaviors, not just one particular behavior; 3. Does not require a great deal of training;
4. Understand not only what behaviors occurred but also the context in which the behavior occurred. Disadvantages
1. Time consuming;
2. Works well for observing one individual, but is difficult to use when observing a group; 3. Observers keep themselves apart from the children which would be difficult for a teacher to do.

2. Anecdotal records
A brief narrative account describing an incident of a child's behavior that is of interest to the observer. Anecdotes describe
• what happened
• how it happened
• when
• where
• what was said and done
These are brief
• describe one incident
• they are cumulative, collected over the school year
They are often written after the incident.
1. Focus on behavior of interest and ignore other behaviors; 2. Less time consuming than running record;
3. No special training needed for the observer;
4. Observer can catch an unexpected incident no matter when it occurs, for it is usually recorded afterwards. Disadvantages
1. Does not focus on all behaviors; may overlook important behaviors; 2. Depends on the memory of the observer;
3. Difficult to use for research purposes.
Written samples of certain behaviors to discover how often, how long, or when a particular behavior occurs. Time sampling: The observer records the frequency of a behavior's occurrence over time Involves observing specified behaviors of an...
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