The researchers can change their approach as needed. As a result of these demand characteristics, participants may alter their behavior in order to go along with what they think the researchers want. Photographs can help capture an important moment in time as well as document details about the space where your observation takes place. However, the direct observer does strive to be as unobtrusive as possible so as not to bias the observations. Observation is one of the primary source of data collection in social science research. By watching how people respond to certain situations and stimuli in real-life, can get a better idea of how and why people react. Colorado State University; Pace, Tonio.
The researcher must also determine the method of sampling and when to record data. Observation is a purposeful, systematic and selective way of watching and listening to a phenomenon or interaction as it takes place Kumar, 2000. It should be noted that such changes called for in the foci of observation are often desirable. Merits and Limitations of Observation: Merits of Observation: i Observation, whether of participant or non-participant type, has, it is to be acknowledged, its own advantages. This can be particularly helpful as you gather additional information or insights during your research. Researchers may be interested in creating or using a template to guide a researchers' observations. We have to consider three main causes of distorted observation.
Types of Observation There are two types of observation: participant observation and non-participant observation. Participant observation research also requires the researcher to aim to be an objective observer and record everything that he or she has seen, not letting feelings and emotions influence their observations and findings. Record at which stage is this behavior occurring within the setting. This would include things like body posture or facial expressions. The researcher decides where the observation will take place, at what time, with which participants, in what circumstances and uses a standardised procedure.
This type of observational method is sometimes referred to nonparticipant observation. Since his period of participation may continue for months, the range of materials collected is likely to be much wider than those gained from a series of quite lengthy interview- schedules. . The observer is also a good listener and is like a pupil eager to learn. For instance, one can videotape the phenomenon or observe from behind one-way mirrors.
In other words, by approaching the situation in an analytical way the observer may be able to lessen the distorting influence of certain factors that are likely to lead to bias. As was suggested earlier, reliability can be increased by careful training of observers. Note sequential patterns of behavior or the moment when actions or events take place and their significance. Sound recordings and motion pictures have been used when it is necessary to describe the overall nature of an event or to code certain action of a member in terms of a frame of reference provided by the entire event. By observing the subjects in their natural setting the classroom where they work and learn each and every day , the researchers can get a better look at the behavior of interest as they occur in the real world. Naturalistic observations may also more difficult to replicate. Recording what you observe should not be done randomly or haphazardly; you must be focused and pay attention to details.
There are many different kinds of field research in which researchers can take any number of roles. Each test subject is exposed to the same situation in order to examine differences between individual reactions. Observer as Participant Here the researcher is known and recognized by the participants and in many cases, the participants know the research goals of the observer. Strengths 1 By being able to observe the flow of behavior in its own setting studies have greater ecological validity. But in fact our sense organs operate in a highly variable, erratic and selective manner. This can also take the form of rough tables or graphs documenting the frequency and type of activities observed. The phenomenon that has been studied may have been an exceptional one.
If the observer is good at observation, then, he can establish good contact with the group members. Controlled observations are overt as the researcher will explain the purpose of the research and the participants know they are being observed. Anything that impinges on our senses has a meaning for us largely to the extent we relate it to what we already know. Problems using this method include the possibility of inherent bias toward conspicuous behaviors or individuals and that you may miss brief interactions in social settings. In participant observation, the researcher intervenes in the environment.
In social science research, the researcher can collect data using various sources: primary or secondary and sometimes there are tertiary sources as well. Conclude your introduction with a statement about how the rest of the paper is organized. Bernard 1998 suggests that participant observation must be learned in the field. There are a variety of types of observational research, each of which has both strengths and weaknesses. The researcher's real identity and purpose are kept concealed from the group being studied. But an inconspicuous person, seemingly very insignificant in the situation, or sometimes even a dead person, may be the real center of the situation e.