Research Methods: Chapter 6
Terms in this set (23)
Designed to describe and measure the behaviour of people or animals as it occurs in their everyday lives. In many cases, it is the only possible approach to collecting data.
Case studies are (1)
examinations of a single person (or small group of individuals). A valuable tool in unusual or rare conditions.
Intensive Case Study
Case studies seek a depth of knowledge concerning important components of a persons life. It often involves detailed and open-ended descriptions provided via multiple assessment techniques.
E.g., physiological, standardized testing (cognitive, emotional, personality, etc), and clinical interviews
Exhaustive Case Study
Case studies also seek breadth of knowledge. This means that multiple sources of information outside of the person are tapped for the additional insight they provide. Examples include:
- Family (parents, siblings)
- School (teachers, administrators, coaches, classmates)
- Organizations (Scouts/Guides, sports, military service records
Advantages of Case Studies
Useful in understanding rare or abnormal behaviour (e.g., Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy) and
provides much richer and more elaborate information than simple surveys
Disadvantages of Case Studies
Subject to biases of researcher (may have a particular theoretical agenda)
Poor external validity (i.e., poor or limited generalizability).
Observing behaviour as it naturally unfolds in ecologically valid contexts.
Participant Versus Observer
The researcher may choose either to be a participant in the observational research by interacting with other participants or to remain an observer of the setting.
Acknowledged Versus Unacknowledged Observer
The researcher must also decide whether to acknowledge the observation is occurring to the people being observed or to remain unacknowledged.
The researcher is unobtrusive, remains hidden or disguised, catches naturalistic behaviour as it occurs in ecologically valid settings.
Ex. Attachment styles at airport; Baboon cultural transmission
The researcher is identified and known to participants which may produce reactivity.
Participants in the setting of acknowledges the research to other participants and is unable to hide his or her identity as a scientist or it is unethical to do so. May experience problems with reactivity.
Participates in the setting and does not acknowledge this to other participants.
May get those being observed to reveal personal or intimate information about themselves and their social situation.
May have difficulty remaining objective.
May influence the process being observed.
Researchers create "analogues" of naturally occurring situations.
Affords more efficiency and control compared to other forms of observational research, but greater potential for reactivity.
Ex. Childhood reminiscing and "scaffolding"
Extensive description of behaviour as it unfolds.
Less comprehensive records of behaviour.
Behavioural Coding Systems
Categorize behaviours into mutually exclusive categories.
Focus on one participant at a time.
Observe everyone for a short period of time at predetermined intervals.
Observe behaviour across multiple settings which
increases external validity
Conduct observations over representative set of time periods
Ex. Morning and afternoon
- Disguised observation
- Physical trace measures
- Archival records
Based on an analysis of any type of existing records of public behaviour such as:
- Newspaper articles
- TV and radio broadcasts
- Internet Web sites
- Existing Surveys
- Speeches and letters of public figures
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