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What is naturalistic observation? How does a researcher collect data when conducting naturalistic observation research?

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Review Questions 7

Review Questions, 1-8,. Please answer questions in detail and support your answers with scholarly research citations where appropriate. Support your paper with a minimum of 5 resources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.

Length: 5-7 pages not including title and reference pages References: Minimum of 5 scholarly resources. Your paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts that are presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your paper should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.

Review Questions 1. What is naturalistic observation? How does a researcher collect data when conducting naturalistic observation research? 2. Why are the data in naturalistic observation research primarily qualitative? 3. Distinguish between participant and nonparticipant observation; between concealed and nonconcealed observation. 4. What is systematic observation? Why are the data from systematic observation primarily quantitative? 5. What is coding system? What are some important considerations when developing a coding system? 6. What is a case study? When are studies used? What is a psychobiography? 7. What is archival research? What are the major sources of archival data? 8. What is content analysis?

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Naturalistic observation is a commonly used research method used by psychologists and other scientists in social platform. Naturalistic observation is a technique that involves observation of subjects in natural environments. This technique is mostly used in areas where doing laboratory research is not necessary and cost is not required or would interfere with the information. Unlike structured observation, naturalistic observation technique entails observing a behavior as it happens in its natural sense without any interference from the researcher. This technique is advantageous in the sense that, it allows direct observation of a behavior by a researcher as it occurs. Also naturalistic observation method allows the study that cannot be done in laboratories due to ethical reasons. A good example is that one cannot study the impacts of imprisonment by confining the subjects. The only way is to gather information from the prison through naturalistic observation technique (Wertz, 2011).

There are several methods used when collecting data using a naturalistic observation technique. Observers use tallying counts by writing down when and how often some behaviors occur. Another technique utilized in data collection is by use of observer narratives method. This involves taking notes when observing then go back later and try to get data and differentiate behavioral patterns from the notes. Depending on the kind of behavior being studied, the observer may choose to record audio or video tapes during each session (Wertz, 2011).

The data in naturalistic observation is mainly qualitative because it is a description of real observations instead of statistical quantitative summaries. The main purpose of naturalistic observation is to give accurate description and interpretation. The researcher has a responsibility of describing the setting, events and individuals observed. At the end, Researcher analyzes observed behavior and gives detailed information of the data collected. Naturalistic observation is primarily qualitative because the researcher gets the data from the field where the subjects are affected directly by the topic under study. Researchers personally get the data from different sources such as; studying documents, observation of behavior and conducting interviews. On the other hand, researchers collect data forms through interviews and observation of behaviors of subjects, recording both audio and video tapes. All this leads to naturalistic observation technique. This technique is a non-experimental, mainly qualitative research technique in which items are researched in their environmental setting. Behaviors of interest are studied and recorded by the researcher. This method is mostly used during the starting stages of the research project. Therefore, naturalistic observation technique is a qualitative study method utilized in research data collection (Goodwin, 2010).

Participant observation takes on an active role;it includes direct participation in lives of individuals being researched, this technique lowers the individual’s role where he or she observes. Participant observation should be well understood in the field. A big issue affecting participant observation is that observers might lose the main objective to conduct the study. This is opposed to non-participant observation whereby the observer does not take an active role during the study. Participant observation does not only show site and writing content down, on the otherhand, it is a complicated method that involves various components. One of the things a researcher or a person conducting the study should do after choosing to perform a participant observation to collect data. He or she should choose what kind of observer should be selected.(Wertz, 2011).

Participant observation has several disadvantages, some of which have a direct impact on the outcome. The recorded audio or video about a group of individuals is not always of full description. Since this is due to selective basis of any kind of recorded data process: it is greatly affected by researchers’personal life depending on what is of importance and relevance. The researchers’ point of view greatly influences how the data is interpreted and evaluated (Goodwin, 2010).

On the other hand, non-participant observation has less interaction with the individual or subject one observes. The recording of both audio and video tapes is a good choice in this technique. Non-participant observation conducts a concealed study. In this technique, the subject being studied is unaware of the research being carried on them. This technique is highly preferred in conducting research; this is because the behavior of the subject will not affect the person conducting the study. However, ethically non-concealed observation is mostly preferred to some groups of individuals. Participant observation is recommended due to reasons that one does not have to hide themselves from the individuals in order to collect data. The fact that one has to hide his or her identity depends on the ethical issues, setting and the targeted group (Goodwin, 2010).

By reducing the interaction between the subject and the researchers, it is likely that the risk of the Hawthorne effect will be less. Also it is easier to record data and information if you are not participating, so the recording of both audio and video tapes is easier. If people realize that they are being watched, they will not be able to give the information freely thus increasing the Hawthorne risk (McBurney& White, 2010).

A setting specifically put in place to reduce or completely eliminate bias is referred to as a systematic observation. A careful observation of behaviors in a specified setting, this technique is less global unlike naturalistic observation. Rules are set up ahead to minimize inferences, decision rules are methods taken before the data collection process starts. Data from system observation are mainly quantitative due to the fact that, observations quantified before hypothesis on the behavior. This is created by researchers before carrying out the study (Goodwin, & Goodwin, 1996).

Coding system is an analytical method whereby, data inform of qualitative and quantitative is grouped together to enable analysis. It is a system researchers use to characterize letters and numbers to obtain a meaningful message. Coding can also be used to means changing data to more understandable form. Several behaviors can be researched using system observation; researcher should be able to decide which one is of interest. Also the setting to do the observation, most importantly the researcher should create a coding system (McBurney& White, 2010).

A case study is a method whereby a specific event, program or a person is studied in details for a specified period. In this technique, a researcher puts together a lot of information on the event, program and person(s) on which the study is focused. The data is got from observation, newspapers, recorded audio, recorded video photographs and interviews. It is an observation method that gives detailed description of a person, this person is normally an important figure in the society, and it may also include an institution or a business (McBurney& White, 2010).

This techniques are used when researchers want to enquire more about a less or badly understood situation. Case study is conducted when a person has little information on a particular item. The results can enlighten the public on something that is uncommon or rare thus helping greatly. On the other hand, psychobiography aims to understand important people’s history such as politicians or musicians. This is achieved through use of psychological theory by researchers to give worthy explanations about an individual’s life.Archival research on the other hand,generally is a kind of research which gets the information from a previous study records. Researchers use written documents to get answers to their research questions. Researchers can also use other sources such as internet, books and information from the library. There are different kinds of archival research data, like statistical records, written records and surveys. Conducting archival research has many advantages since the researcher spends less money in data collection. The researcher also has more strength and energy to go through the previous data.The information gotten from this report may have measures that closely match the existing literature (Goodwin, 2010).

Lastly content analysis is a technique used to summarize any kind of information considering the type of the content. It allows wider objective evaluation compared on the content based on favoring the audience. Content analysis also refers to a general method used for analysis and better understanding of a collection of content. This method involves larger content of textual information (McBurney & White, 2010).


Angrosino, M. V. (2007). Naturalistic observation. Walnut Creek, Calif: Left Coast Press.

Goodwin, C. J. (2010). Research in psychology: Methods and design. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Goodwin, W. L., & Goodwin, L. D. (1996).Understanding quantitative and qualitative research in early childhood education. New York [u.a.: Teachers College Press.

McBurney, D., & White, T. L. (2010).Research methods. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Wertz, F. J. (2011). Five ways of doing qualitative analysis: Phenomenological psychology, grounded theory, discourse analysis, narrative research, and intuitive inquiry. New York: Guilford Press.

The post What is naturalistic observation? How does a researcher collect data when conducting naturalistic observation research? appeared first on Nursing Essays Center.

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