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Ch 6: Observing Behavior. Places to Observe on Campus (Spring 2010) 1. Area in the middle of campus, by the Info Trolley. 2. By the food place on campus.

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Presentation on theme: "Ch 6: Observing Behavior. Places to Observe on Campus (Spring 2010) 1. Area in the middle of campus, by the Info Trolley. 2. By the food place on campus."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ch 6: Observing Behavior

2 Places to Observe on Campus (Spring 2010) 1. Area in the middle of campus, by the Info Trolley. 2. By the food place on campus which is near the gym/pools. 3. By the statue of the boy overlooking the water feature. 4. Entrance of the SE parking structure (people exiting structure) 5. Entrance of the SE parking structure (people entering structure) 6. Entrance of the SW parking structure (people exiting structure) 7. Entrance of the SW parking structure (people entering structure) 8. By the entrance of the bookstore. 9 In front of C Building, by mirror pools 10. Shuttle stop by U Building 11. Bus stop on Colorado in front of library 12. Passenger drop off/pick up (Colorado B. in front of L Bldg) 13. Starbucks

3 Reactivity Occurs when individuals change their usual behavior, when they know they are being observed [p101] Minimize reactivity by: Allowing time for individuals to become used to the presence of an observer or the recording equipment

4 Time sampling: Researchers choose time intervals for making observations Systematic: Schedule observations to occur at a regular time Random: Use some random means for identifying times for observations Event sampling is used for rare events Situation sampling: Researchers choose different settings, circumstances, and conditions for their observations Sampling Behavior [p116]

5 Classification of Observational Methods Two categories of observational methods: Observation without Intervention Observation with Intervention

6 Observation without Intervention Naturalistic Observation (AKA: field work or field observations ): Observation in natural (“real-world”) settings without an attempt to intervene or change the situation [p110]

7 Participant observation Observer is an active participant in the natural setting he or she observes [p112-113] Norah Vincent “My Life as a Man” Undisguised (unconcealed): people in the setting know they are being observed Disguised (concealed): people don’t know they are being observed

8 Observation without Intervention Physical traces: The remnants, fragments, and products of past behavior Products: Creations, constructions, or other artifacts of earlier behavior

9 Observation without Intervention Physical traces: Evidence that remains from the use or nonuse of an item natural-use traces controlled use traces

10 Natural-use traces Produced without any intervention by the investigator

11 Controlled-use traces Produced with some degree of intervention or manipulation by the investigator

12 Natural use or controlled use trace?



15 Archival records Public and private documents that describe the activities of individuals, institutions, governments, and other groups [p204]

16 Archival Research [118-121]  A non-reactive measure (or indirect method) for collecting data—when the individual who did the behavior is no longer present  Archival research involves using previously compiled information to answer research questions

17 Running records & records of specific events Running records are continuously kept and updated (e.g., check book) Records of specific events (e.g., diploma)

18 Archival data are used to: test hypotheses as part of a multimethod approach test the external validity of laboratory findings test hypotheses about past behavior assess the effect of a natural treatment

19 Multimethod approach Researchers use a variety of measures to examine a research question

20 Natural treatments Naturally occurring events that impact society and individuals

21 Selective deposit Occurs when some information is selected to be included in the archival record, but other information is not

22 Selective survival Occurs when information is lost or missing from an archival source

23 Content analysis The process of making inferences based on objective coding of archival data [p120]

24 Quantitative analysis Classifying events and behaviors into categories to count their frequency of occurrence [p109] Assign numerical values to responses and measures and then subject the data to quantitative statistical analyses Ex: Count the number of times gender- stereotypical jobs were assigned to characters in the story.

25 Qualitative analysis Subjective judgments about the content in an archival record [p109] Describe behavior or findings based on themes that emerge from the data. Data are nonnumerical and expressed in language and images Ex: Watch the tape of Osama Bin Laden and tell me if you think he is being deceptive.

26 Three Steps of Content Analysis 1) Identify a relevant source 2) Sample selections from the source 3) Code units of analysis

27 Observation with Intervention [p114] Systematic observation: The careful observation of one or more behaviors in a particular setting. Use when: interest is in only a few very specific behaviors observations are quantifiable researcher has developed prior hypothesis

28 Field experiment Researcher manipulates an independent variable in a natural setting and observes behavior (dependent variable) [pp 83, 113]

29 Coding systems for systematic observation… [p115]  are either (1) developed to fit the needs of the particular study or (2) “borrowed” systems developed by others  should be as simple as possible  must allow researchers to easily categorize behaviors

30 Coding systems can involve: Comprehensive records of people’s behavior (e.g., complete records, such as video tapes)—a qualitative record Selecting specific behaviors to record—a quantitative record [pp115-116]

31 Equipment & Narrative Records Used when researchers want a complete (comprehensive) reproduction of people’s behavior [pp 115-116] Examples: video and audio recordings, field notes

32 Systematic Observation: Methodological Issues [pp115-116] 1.Equipment: can fail 2.Reactivity: the probability that the presence of the observer will affect behavior 3.Reliability: refers to how stable/consistent the measure is over time or between observers 4.Sampling: refers to how participants and behaviors are chosen to be studied 1.Larger samples of participants and multiple samples of behavior can increase both internal and external validity.

33 Case Studies [pp117-118]  A case study provides a description of an individual. Usually the individual is a person, but may also be a setting. A psychobiography is a type of case study in which a researcher applies psychological theory to explain the life of an individual.

34 Case Studies…  are done when an individual possesses a particularly rare, unusual, or noteworthy condition.  provide unique data about some psychological phenomenon  and the insights gained from them may lead to other research using other methods

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