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Observational Studies - Essay Example

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around man. For example, astronomy is an observational science. Systematic observation may make use unique facilities and complicated equipment, as well as with present day astronomy, however, observational studies does not have to be done in a laboratory nor does it necessarily require any sophisticated equipment…
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Observational Studies
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Download file to see previous pages Even research that would seem, from a contemporary perspective, to be ideally suited as an observational study, like the characterization done in the 1920's by Arnold Gesell of the normal course of human development in the first 6 years of life, was carried out in a laboratory setting and followed stringent rules (Naturalistic results, 2004).
An observational study (also called an epidemiological or population study), therefore is a research method that looks at large populations with an aim to find trends. It is usually retrospective that is, it examines what has happened in the past. For example, participants may fill out surveys or questionnaires on what they recall about particular behaviors, such as what foods they ate or what nutritional supplements they took in past years. Researchers simply look at what is already going on. Such research methods are often used to find connections between what people eat and the development of different diseases (Observational study, 2006). Observational studies include several observation methods such as: naturalistic observation, analog observation, self observation, and narrative observation.
Naturalistic observation occurs when a researcher does observations in a naturally occurring situation, without having to get involved. In using the naturalistic observations method, the researcher makes no effort to control or change the situation. The research task is simply to make a comprehensive record of the proceedings that occur and of visible relationships between events. The main challenge in conducting naturalistic observation is to arrange the data collection so that the observer has a clear view of what occurs, but is not so prominent or noticeable that they become an object of interest or concern to participants (Naturalistic observation, n.d.). Examples of naturalistic observations without intervention include the early work of Jane Goodall on chimpanzees and of Dian Fossey on mountain gorillas as well as Timothy Perper's studies of flirting behavior in bars. Examples of naturalistic observation with intervention include participant observation studies in which a researcher becomes part of a group in order to describe what members of the group do (Naturalistic research, 2004).
Analogue observations
Analogue observation involves the measurement of a client's obvious behavior in an artificial setting that is analogous to settings that the client is expected to encounter in his natural surroundings. The goal of analogue behavioral observation is to derive reliable estimates of the client's behavior in a current or future natural environment. The disadvantage of Analogue behavioral observation is that its instruments are often developed with insufficient attention to their psychometric properties, especially content weight. Although analogue behavioral observation instruments can be susceptible to change, their validity can corrode as time passes and is affected by various sources of discrepancy. However, analogue behavioral observation assessment is especially useful in detecting significant functional relations in clinical assessment (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2005 APA, all rights reserved; ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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