Some famous examples of naturalistic observations include Charles Darwin's journey aboard the HMS Beagle, which served as the basis for his theory of natural selection, and Jane Goodall's work studying the behavior of chimpanzees.
Naturalistic observations are the gathering of information in the field of interest without alteration or modification of the environment. The objective of naturalistic observation in psychology is to evaluate the character of an organism (human being included) in a natural setting. In this case, I would like to take into consideration the kids in a daycare center. Through observation of children in a daycare center, one learn different characterizes and behaviors of child development. For instance, during the first hours of their arrival at the center, the kids seem to be darned gently, talk less, and are in their own world. At this time, they need no disturbance because their parents or guardians have left them, so they are still figuring out what would come next. Then as hours passes by, the kids behavior change depending on what is talking place. If for instance, the caretaker at the center introduces some activities for the kids some will respond by liking it, while others will reject and start crying. This shows that whatever was introduced does not fit well into their perception.
The grounded theory approach described by Glaser and Strauss represents a somewhat extreme form of naturalistic inquiry. It is not necessary to insist that the product of qualitative inquiry be a theory that will apply to a "multitude of diverse situations." Examples of a more flexible approach to qualitative inquiry can be gained from a number of sources. For example, both Patton ( ) and Guba ( ) state, in the same words, that "naturalistic inquiry is always a matter of degree" of the extent to which the researcher influences responses and imposes categories on the data. The more "pure" the naturalistic inquiry, the less reduction of data into categories.
The presence of an observer is likely to introduce a distortion of the natural scene which the researcher must be aware of, and work to minimize. Critical decisions, including the degree to which researcher identity and purposes will be revealed to participants, the length of time spent in the field, and specific observation techniques used, are wholly dependent on the unique set of questions and resources brought to each study. In any case, the researcher must consider the legal and ethical responsibilities associated with naturalistic observation.
There are several observation strategies available. In some cases it may be possible and desirable for the researcher to watch from outside, without being observed. Another option is to maintain a passive presence, being as unobtrusive as possible and not interacting with participants. A third strategy is to engage in limited interaction, intervening only when further clarification of actions is needed. Or the researcher may exercise more active control over the observation, as in the case of a formal interview, to elicit specific types of information. Finally, the researcher may act as a full participant in the situation, with either a hidden or known identity. Each of these strategies has specific advantages, disadvantages and concerns which must be carefully examined by the researcher ( ).
In the naturalistic paradigm, the of a working hypothesis to other situations depends on the degree of similarity between the original situation and the situation to which it is transferred. The researcher cannot specify the transferability of findings; he or she can only provide sufficient information that can then be used by the reader to determine whether the findings are applicable to the new situation ( ). Other writers use similar language to describe transferability, if not the word itself. For example, Stake ( ) refers to what he calls "naturalistic generalization" (p. 6). Patton suggests that "extrapolation" is an appropriate term for this process (1990, p. 489). Eisner says it is a form of "retrospective generalization" that can allow us to understand our past (and future) experiences in a new way (1991, p. 205).
Finally, an evaluation (or critique) of your observation, mentioning any problem areas where you feel you could have improved your results is also required. You could, for example, explain any flaws in your “method” which led to inaccurate data.
1) Decide what you will observe and develop a hypothesis – What do you THINK you will see during your observation. For example, ‘It is hypothesized 60% of women will look in the mirror while only 25% of men will look in the mirror while passing by.”
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Through the following examples we will proceed to observe development in our environment and explain its relativity to the text Observation #1 I observed a set of dizygotic or fraternal twins, Antonio and James, that had walked in, which were both males....
Several writers have identified what they consider to be the prominent characteristics of qualitative, or naturalistic, research (see, for example: ). The list that follows represents a synthesis of these authors' descriptions of qualitative research:
The classic form of data collection in naturalistic or field research is observation of participants in the context of a natural scene. Observational data are used for the purpose of description-of settings, activities, people, and the meanings of what is observed from the perspective of the participants. Observation can lead to deeper understandings than interviews alone, because it provides a knowledge of the context in which events occur, and may enable the researcher to see things that participants themselves are not aware of, or that they are unwilling to discuss ( ). A skilled observer is one who is trained in the process of monitoring both verbal and nonverbal cues, and in the use of concrete, unambiguous, descriptive language. Sours' ( ) study of teaching and learning styles provides a good example of descriptive language applied to the technology classroom.
I will explain the strengths and weaknesses of naturalistic observation through the key developmental milestones based in Mary Sheridan (2005) check-list and provide a theoretical explanation to support the naturalistic observation.
Choose a restaurant, library, mall, dining hall, coffee shop, or similar public location. Plan to spend a minimum of two hours at the location. You will visit this location twice, for a minimum of four hours total. Keep in mind that if you should find one of your peers in the establishment at the same time when you are there, do not interrupt him/her and do not do the assignment at the same time.
Document what occurs at this chosen location:
Describe the establishment.
Analyze the interactions between people.
Next, write a paper documenting and analyzing your observations of the location.
Your observation notes should specifically include the following:
Name and location of the establishment
Dates and times you were there
Place where you stood/sat and when you did your research
Description of the physical characteristics of the inside and outside of the establishment (e.g. brick or concrete structure, paint color, seating arrangements)
Number and types of people visiting the establishment while you were there (age, sex, type of clothing, probable occupations, ethnicity, etc.)
Document interactions such as:
specific nature of the interactions that take place in the establishment among customers, between customers and staff, and among staff
types of languages used in the establishment and by whom
any strange or unusual behavior
Include the following in your analysis:
Comparison of similarities and differences of this establishment and other similar establishments you know about
Nature of the treatment of customers in the establishment
Relationships between customers and workers
Any behavior that surprised you or was contrary to your expectations
How it felt to do the research
Most difficult aspects of the research
What you found most interesting about the research
In your analysis, be sure to draw upon your observations to support your conclusions.
In the appendix of your paper, include the following:
A sketch of the layout of the establishment (You can draw in a computer program, like Paint that comes preloaded on most PCs and insert it into your Word file.)
Transcription of your notes