ERIC Number: ED423172
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Counting Fidgets: Teaching the Complexity of Naturalistic Observation.
Beins, Bernard C.
This paper outlines a classroom technique that conveys to students some of the complexities of naturalistic and systematic observation. Most research methods textbooks devote only a single chapter to all of the descriptive techniques of research. This activity involves students in the observation and recording of "fidgets" during a five-minute period. Little discussion or explanation precedes the experiment. The class discussion that follows usually identifies typical problems encountered by naturalistic researchers including: (1) lack of clarity of definition of observed event; (2) an operational definition may constrain observations; (3) training observers for consistency for inter-rater reliability; (4) videotaping the scene to allow observers to discuss criteria of observation procedure; (5) method of recording data might differ across observers; (6) different vantage points of observers mean observations of the same event are different; and (7) participants know they are being observed which may influence the outcome of the study. (EH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (Toronto, Canada, August 12, 1996).