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Case Studies and Observational Research Slides Prepared by Alison L. O’Malley Passer Chapter 6.

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Presentation on theme: "Case Studies and Observational Research Slides Prepared by Alison L. O’Malley Passer Chapter 6."— Presentation transcript:

1 Case Studies and Observational Research Slides Prepared by Alison L. O’Malley Passer Chapter 6

2 Case Studies In-depth analysis of an individual, social unit, or event Remember Phineas Gage? How do psychological scientists conducting case studies acquire their data?

3 Case Studies: Concerns Difficulty drawing causal conclusions Generalizability of findings Potential for observer bias How can these concerns be overcome?

4 Observer Bias: Expectations can color perception

5 Observational Research Umbrella term for various types of nonexperimental research designs wherein trained observers record ongoing behavior Qualitative, quantitative, or mixed- methods approaches As opposed to case studies, involve multiple participants

6 Observational Research Naturalistic observation Participant observation Structured observation

7 Naturalistic Observation Researcher(s) strive for little to no interaction with participants Disguised: participants are not aware they’re being observed Undisguised: participants know they’re being observed I’m watching you!

8 Naturalistic Observation Behavior examined in “ecologically valid” (i.e., real life) conditions But research design lacks control and some data may be overlooked Reactivity occurs when behavior is altered through the process of being observed Must remain mindful of APA Ethics Code When are researchers permitted to forego informed consent?

9 Participant Observation Researchers embed themselves in the phenomena of interest Disguised vs. undisguised distinction still applies – participants may not know researchers are among them Ethnographic approaches are qualitative and incorporate interviews to develop a narrative of the research topic

10 Participant Observation Is participant observation more or less subject to reactivity than naturalistic observation? Is disguised participant observation ethical? Critical Questions

11 Structured Observation Researchers “tweak” the research setting, influencing what happens when Sometimes called analogue behavioral observation in keeping with goal of creating “analogues” of naturally occurring situations Affords more efficiency and control compared to other forms of observational research, but greater potential for reactivity

12 Recording Observations Narrative records – extensive description of behavior as it unfolds Field notes – less comprehensive records of behavior Behavioral coding systems – categorize behaviors into mutually exclusive categories Discuss whether each approach is more qualitative or quantitative.

13 Recording Observations Develop a coding scheme for handshakes. Make sure that each category is accompanied by a clear operational definition.

14 Recording Observations Rating and ranking scales – observers evaluate participants’ standing on various dimensions Diaries – participants observe and record their own behaviors Supplements to ongoing behavioral observations

15 What observational research strategy is used here? What sort of research questions could this researcher answer based upon her data?

16 Sampling Behavior Focal sampling – Focus on one participant at a time Scan sampling – Observe everyone for a short period of time at predetermined intervals Situation sampling – Observe behavior across multiple settings Time sampling – Conduct observations over representative set of time periods Obtaining representative data without recording everything and everyone!

17 Practice Question Questions of external validity pervade observational research. Which sampling strategy may be regarded as the most externally valid? a.Time sampling b.Scan sampling c.Focal sampling d.Situation sampling

18 Overcoming Observer Bias Well-developed coding system Observer training Blind observation Verify reliability of observer practices 10 6.5 4.5 3.0 Poor interrater reliability  !

19 Avoiding Reactivity Disguised observation (an extreme form of unobtrusive measurement) Habituation Physical trace measures Archival records Archives

20 How can observational research, correlational research, and experimental research work in concert to help satisfy the goals of science? Description Explanation Prediction Control Closing Considerations

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