Behavior is overt potentially perceptible action or activity by people or other animals; goal-directed What we do and not why we do it Records are made for coding into data later Anecdotal records- written observations Specimen records- running record, detailed Participant observation Formal observation schedules Time sampling Event sampling
Presence of observers can affect behavior Participant observers have an influence in some way or another on the setting observed Selective and subjective nature of perception Observers and coders have a hard time overcoming tendency to interpret the world meaningfully Observers and recording devices have points of view
Existing records that weren’t collected for specific research Secondary data Ex: historical travel journals, financial records, birth and death records, newspaper stories, industry and business records, historical documents, diaries, letters, movies, literature, voting results, etc. Non-reactive source of data Biases can be a problem because the info was provided to someone other than a researcher…different setting and situation
Coding: open-ended records typically consist of words, pictures or intentional acts that must be digested for meaning Content analysis: coding verbal or graphical expressions Segmentation: breaking the records into appropriate units Classification: assigning segments to the categories that capture aspects of the meaning of the records Exhaustive Mutually exclusive Top-down and bottom-up approaches Coding manual: documentation of your coding system; used to train coders, describe research and replicate your work
Be able to convince others that your coded data is reliable and valid Inter-rater reliability: have 2 or more coders independently and repeatedly code subsets of your records Difficulties arise because a single word can often times mean totally different things with different meanings that are unrelated
How does scientific behavioral observation differ from the everyday behavioral observation that we all do? What are some strengths and weaknesses of archives as a source of data? What types of data sources in geography require open-ended coding and why?