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Strengths and weaknesses of naturalistic observation

Psychological research is often conducted by observing people as they behave in public. If the researcher is unobtrusive and there is no public debriefing, you will have no idea if or when these studies are being conducted. What is the value of these studies? Does it bother you to think you might be part of a study without knowing it? Why? State and explain ideas for four different observational studies you might like to conduct; make sure the settings are in a naturalistic and public environment. Of the selected four studies, which study interests you more, and why? For each situation, what could be one reason people might object if they knew they were being watched?
Analyzed and explained the value of these studies.
Explained if it would bother you if you were part of a study without knowing about it
Stated and explained ideas for four different observational studies you might like to conduct in a naturalistic and public environment
Stated which of the selected four studies interested you more and explained why

Solution Preview

The problem with naturalistic studies where people don't know they're being observed is that we cannot ask their permission to be in the study - we cannot obtain informed consent. Furthermore, we cannot tell them at the end of the study that we've been observing them and why - we cannot debrief them. These two issues conflict with the ethical guidelines of scientific research. That being said, research ethics boards will usually approve such studies as long as they do not form a threat (physical, psychological, or social/economical) to the people being observed and as long as the benefits of the study outweigh any possible costs. ...

Solution Summary

Explains the benefits and drawbacks of naturalistic observation research approaches.