Naturalistic Observation Lab

Naturalistic Observation Lab

Behavior observed:

For this task, I chose to observe a stranger. On this particular day, I sat at the furthest end of the café sipping my coffee. A woman, lets name her Jane sat right across my table. She walked in just as I settled down. She sat alone at her table, settling her bag on an empty seat before looking at the menu. She spend considerable amount of time analyzing the menu while fidgeting her hands and frowning her face. After about four minutes she looked up and waived to the water, who smiled, nodded pointed 2 fingers up and approached her table after a while. The waiter approached her, with a book and a pen, she smiled again, nodded listening to the woman and appeared to scribe down on her paper moving from the lady to the paper, the waiter pointed to some items on the menu, Jane gaze shifted from the menu to the waiter as she moved along the items on the list. Jane was frowning and fidgeting all along pointing to the items on her menu while the waiter waited and watched impatiently shrugging and even signing severally and even moving her head from the right to the left on a number of occasion. I believe out of frustration. Soon after, the waiter left, Jane followed her behind, spoke to her pointing to the menu, then came back to her table. She reached for her phone as the waiter brought her coffee and looked at her suggestively as though to ask if she was okay (Jane nodded) and proceeded with other activities by giving her a thumbs up. Jane sipped her coffee at the same time browsing through her phone while tapping on her table. I was able to capture all this within the ten minute time frame.

Operational definition of behavior:

The operational variables in this case involves hand gestures which include; waving; thumbing up, pointing to certain items, fidgeting, pen tapping the note pad and tapping on the table. Face motions involves frowns, signing, nodding in agreement or disapproval and smiles.

Results:

Quantitative – frequency of behavior

Brief summary of above data (in a sentence):

Jane exhibited a number of various behavior, a considerable amount of her time was spent on her phone, looking around and the menu items, and around the café as the waiter. She also frowned frequently and showed agitation similar to the waiter who shrugged severally. In parallel, the waiter smiled less and spent a considerable tome scribing on her note pad.

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Qualitative – description of behavior

Both Jane and the waiter were involved in a number of non-verbal behavior. To begin with, Jane first looked around for an empty seat before she sat down at her table; 2) she was fidgeting and frowning as she looked at the menu items. 3) She waived to the waiter beckoning her to come to her aid; 4) pointed at the menu items as she questioned the waiter about the same; 5) she followed the waiter; 6) she tapped on her table as she took her coffee; 7) she was fixated on her phone. On the other hand, upon being waved at the waiter looked at Jane, 2) she then pointed out two fingers and went about her duties; 3) Later approached Jane tables; 4) scribbled on her note pad; 5) shifted her gaze from Jane to her note pad; 5) Shrugged and signed appearing frustrated on Jane’s undecidedness; 6) She left brought coffee; 7) suggestively looked at Jane; 8) Gave a thumbs up

Brief summary of above data (in a sentence):

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Qualitative – description of behavior

Both Jane and the waiter were involved in a number of non-verbal behavior. To begin with, Jane first looked around for an empty seat before she sat down at her table; 2) she was fidgeting and frowning as she looked at the menu items. 3) She waived to the waiter beckoning her to come to her aid; 4) pointed at the menu items as she questioned the waiter about the same; 5) she followed the waiter; 6) she tapped on her table as she took her coffee; 7) she was fixated on her phone. On the other hand, upon being waved at the waiter looked at Jane, 2) she then pointed out two fingers and went about her duties; 3) Later approached Jane tables; 4) scribbled on her note pad; 5) shifted her gaze from Jane to her note pad; 5) Shrugged and signed appearing frustrated on Jane’s undecidedness; 6) She left brought coffee; 7) suggestively looked at Jane; 8) Gave a thumbs up

What have you learned about observation as a research method:

1. Why is an operational definition important when conducting descriptive research like naturalistic observation?

This method of data collection enables a researcher to collect first hand data in a natural setting with the data collected being more genuine as individuals tend to monitor how they behave when they know they are being watched. As such an individual’s emotions and the reactions can be collected free of manipulation. This method is also significantly cheaper and can be collected through a number of techniques such as recording, timing and videotaping. On the negative side, it is difficult to control some variables therefore the subject under observation may be affected by outside variables say emotions and variations in the outside environment such as noise. A subject may also display different behavior at the same time which may make collection of data for individual behavior difficult as one may miss out on one behavior as he records the other. This is to mean that the subsequent results may also be inaccurate. Furthermore, the observer can manipulate or collect the data on subjective level which means that even the findings may be interpreted on a subjective level which is to mean that this method is prone to subjective bias.

2. Why is an operational definition important when conducting descriptive research like naturalistic observation?

It is important to define operational variables in collecting data so as to reduce error and ensure consistencies in the variables that are being observed. Defining the operational variables is also key to understanding what is to be observed as people tend to have different views and opinions as to what is to be collected. .

3. Why is it difficult to make causation statements about naturalistic observation studies?

In light of the disadvantages discussed above, naturalistic observations may result in inaccurate findings because it is difficult to control some variables. For example, from the above observation, it appears that the above information involves an accurate account of what was happening. However, it is difficult to tell whether Jane ordinarily behaves the way she did today, or the waiter as to that matter or she was simply agitated on the given day which equally frustrated the waiter. Jane shows agitation such as fidgeting, frowning, and tapping of the table). This calls for repeated observations to arrive at concise analysis of behavior. Secondly, reactivity which refers to the object under observation noticing that someone is observing them may lead to change of behavior. Although I can tell that Jane did not notice that I was observing her, I cannot precisely negate this either.

Appendix Frequency Tables