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Research Methods

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Research Methods
Jessica
February 2012

What is the difference between direct and indirect observational methods of research? Direct observation is when researchers observe the behavior while it is occurring. Indirect (unobtrusive) observation is when researchers examine physical traces and archival records. (Zechmeister, Zechmeister, & Shaughnessy 2001) Direct observation of behavior can be seen in simply psychology: question and answer, as well as simple observation of a person’s daily activities. The researcher can choose to change the atmosphere, or change the study to intervene and observe the changes, while indirect observations main goal is to be unseen and non-influential on the behavior that is being observed as to take down all natural information.
My friend attempted to use direct observation in this study. He went out and observed people’s behavior while intervening with his own behavior in hopes to prove his hypothesis. There is so much wrong with his way of thinking in this study. The first problem is his observational bias as he is not only observing others and the conversation but also himself. There is no scientific way to observe yourself without having some bias in opinion.
Beyond that, he uses behavioral sampling, and cannot come to a precise conclusion based soley on his words and the reactions of the people he is in conversation with. There are many factors to consider. Where are the people coming from, where are they going? Are they having a good day or a bad day? His hypothesis and research is so vague that it suggests legitimate findings when in reality he would need much more research done in a more controlled environment to come to a precise conclusion. If he were able to have a third person observe the behavior while he interacts with numerous people, possibly all with the same background: Students at a specific university. He...

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