Observation Techniques

Topics: Observation, Psychology, Philosophy of science Pages: 1 (265 words) Published: April 19, 2007
Observation Techniques
Observation techniques allow a researcher to observe behaviors and reactions in order to obtain information. The types of observation are direct versus indirect, disguised versus undisguised, structured versus unstructured, and human versus mechanical. Direct observation gives the opportunity for a researcher to observe behavior as it occurs and indirect observes the effects or results rather than the behavior itself. Disguised observation is when the subject is unaware that they are being observed, however, in undisguised observation the subject is aware. Structured observation would have the researcher identify which behaviors are to be observed beforehand but in unstructured a researcher would monitor all behaviors. In human versus mechanical the researcher or another human is the observer opposed to using some form of static observing device. Advantages of using an observation technique in our study would be that this system is cost efficient and very accurate but more importantly it will give you actual behaviors and reactions. How often respondents eat, what they usually eat, what locations they enjoy eating at, are just a few questions we would be able to answer using an observation technique. Disadvantages of using an observation technique is that there is usually a small sample group that will be observed. In addition, an observer could have subjective interpretations and a respondent that is aware of being observed may change their usual behavior pattern because they want to satisfy what they think the observer is looking for. Another disadvantage may be that we are unable to truly observe what the respondent is thinking or feeling and what their attitudes are.
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