Understanding observation as data collection tool in research.

Observation offers the researcher a distinct way of collecting data. It does not rely on what people say they do, or what they say they think. It is more direct than that. Instead, it draws on the direct evidence of the eye to witness events first hand. It is a more natural way of gathering data. Whenever direct observation is possible it is the preferable method to use. Observation method is a technique in which the behavior of research subjects is watched and recorded without any direct contact. It involve the systematic recording of observable phenomena or behavior in a natural setting.

OBSERVATION AS DATA COLLECTION TOOL.




The purpose of observation techniques are:

  • To collect data directly. 
  • To collect substantial amount of data in short time span.
  •  To get eye witness first hand data in real like situation.
  •  To collect data in a natural setting.

Characteristics of observation as data collection tool :
It is necessary to make a distinction between observation as a scientific tool and the casual observation of the man in the street.

An observation with the following characteristics will be scientific observation.

  • It is systematic. 
  • It is specific.  
  • It is objective.  
  • It is quantitative.  
  • The record of observation should be made immediately.
  •  Expert observer should observe the situation.  
  • It’s result can be checked and verified. 

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