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Psychology entails the scientific comprehension of cognitions and deeds. This discipline qualifies to be scientific. This is because the established facts in psychology qualify for empirical testing. This is also justified by the fact that the discipline uses specific channels to obtain data. Apparently, psychology uses research to obtain information. Scholars use diverse methodologies to attain data. These include the experimental, observational, and correlation research. Each methodology has unique properties and requirements. Here, we shall focus on observational research. This paramount methodology brings much input to the study of psychology.
Psychological observation has a great difference from the daily observation. It involves scientific steps that capture any minute detail from the subjects. Observational research also differs quantitatively from the ordinary observation (Elmes, 2009). Occurrence of errors is a rare case in the observational research. This boosts the credibility and validity of observational research. In observational research, the scholars work to rectify previous errors. This also distinguishes observational research from ordinary observation. Observational research curbs biasness and inaccuracy. Generally, observational research involves scientific observation of the subjects’ response. Scholars might observe the behavior of organisms in their habitat. The discipline terms this as naturalistic observation (Elmes, 2009). Naturalistic observation is a paramount tool to discover organisms’ behavior. Despite this fact, the methodology has some demerits. Most observers are fallible. This factor projects the research towards error. Observation is prone to human diversity. Additionally, subjects behave artificially in the discovery that a foreign party is around. The discipline terms this as unobtrusive observation. Observers also focus on the effects of the observed behavior instead of the behavior itself. The discipline terms this as unobtrusive measure. These phenomena represent the errors that are probable to occur during the study.
Observational research is not limited to animals. Scholars also use the technique to observe human behavior in certain environments (Kalat, 2010). This is fully reliant on the specific behavior that is under observation. Psychologists study behavior in the specific environments as outsiders. Observation is most successful when the subjects are not aware of the study. This explains why the psychologists operate as outsiders. In this form of research, it is evident that behavior changes with change in environment. Ancient psychologists like B, Skinner advocated for observation of behavior. They argued that behavior is measurable. This is evident, since the internal cognitions and attitudes manifest in behavior. Observational research is the best research technique to study behavior.
Observational research involves checking the responses of the subject and recording the findings. This requires tools such as cameras, stationery among other observational equipments. The greatest merit about this method is that it provides accurate information. This is mostly due to the use of the appropriate observational equipments. As connoted previously, its accuracy increases when the subject are not aware of the foreign party. Psychologists use profound techniques to maintain this principle. Goodall, J spent years in the jungle making observations on the chimpanzees. She observed their eating habits, gestures, social interaction, and their general way of life (Kalat, 2010). Her study was a naturalistic observation. She recorded all the observations in a handbook. This provided first hand data for her study. She did not use bulky equipment. This aimed at retaining the natural habitat in the jungle. Due to this technique, the chimpanzees did not alter their behavior. Psychologists also observe human behavior in diverse contexts. They also make sure that the subjects do not notice the observation. This helps psychologists to explain behavior beyond the obvious.
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