CHAPTERIn the previous part of this book, we were concerned with general strategies used in
the design and implementation of different types of research. In the next six chapters,
we turn attention to methods of assessment and measurement used to collect the data that
constitute the output of research studies. We begin this section with a general consideration
of systematic observational methods. This is an obvious and appropriate starting point
because all of the assessment or measurement techniques to be presented are dependent
on some form of systematic observation. This chapter is fundamental to those that follow
because it provides a general outline of the structural aspects that shape the overall character
of all research that makes use of observational assessment techniques.Although all science is fundamentally bound to observation, the term systematic
observational methods, in our view, has come to refer to a diverse set of techniques
that are employed to study behavior that:
SYSTEMATIC OBSERVATIONAL METHODS
AND NATURALISTIC RESEARCH
|• ||(Usually) occurs outside the formal boundaries of the laboratory,|
|• ||(Usually) is naturally instigated, that is, does not make use of a controlled experimental
|• ||(Usually) places few restrictions on the allowable responses of the persons under observation,|
|• ||(Usually) emphasizes behavioral processes rather than outcomes, and|
|• ||[a114] Always entails a replicable system of assigning values to observed events.|
This last condition separates systematic observational techniques from other observational methods that, while perhaps valuable, do not really fall into the realm of social
science. Obviously, poets, novelists, and social critics may have important, profound insights into social phenomena. However, their work and visions, no matter how profound,
no matter how useful, no matter how perceptive, cannot be counted as scientific because
they do not depend on systematically collected and replicable data, continually refined via
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Principles and Methods of Social Research.
Contributors: William D. Crano - Author, Marilynn B. Brewer - Author.
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ.
Publication year: 2002.
Page number: 197.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may
not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.