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Observational Research

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Observational Research and its Components
Social Psychology
Dr. Deborah Harris-Sims
July 9, 2011

Observational Research and its Components

Social psychology has three well renowned scientific methods for research. These are observational, correlational, and experimental techniques. This paper will explain that the true goal of observational research is description. To understand behavior so that it can be predicted, controlled, or explained, a scientist must describe it accurately (Franzoi, 2009) which I will explain. Observational research is a social technique that involves direct observation of a subject in it natural setting. It involves the recording test results and not manipulating any of the variables, while being able to be broken down into three categories, naturalistic observation, participant observation, and archival research. Naturalistic observation involves the examination of a subject and its behavior in its natural environment. Participant observation involves the examination of a subject and its behavior in its natural environment as a member of the study group. Example, a test is conducted on underage drinking and the observer is a party guest where alcohol is being served. The third and final type of observational research is archival research. Archival research involves the examination of pre-existing records of a group, individual, or culture. It is mainly used to study the beliefs and norms of a specific culture. Naturalistic and participant observation methods offer many benefits if chosen, but they also have several flaws worth mentioning. The first flaw is the lack of a control. This means that no variables can be manipulated, so extra caution must be taken when concluding how events are correlated. The next issue is observer bias. This is when a scientist may have a predetermined notion about the test subject,…...

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