Understanding observation as a data collection tool in research

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. The observation method is a technique in which the behaviour of research subjects is watched and recorded without any direct contact. It involves the systematic recording of observable phenomena or behaviour in a natural setting.

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 a 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.

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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