Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952651 | Print ISBN: 9781412924702 | Online ISBN: 9781412952651| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jennifer P. Bott
Observational techniques, a cornerstone of the qualitative research paradigm, can be divided into two main categories: participant and naturalistic observation. Naturalistic observation is a method of collecting information in a setting in which the behavior of interest occurs, typically unbeknownst to the targets of observation. Naturalistic observation is often used by ethnographers examining cultural behavior, organizational development researchers, and program evaluators. The hallmark of naturalistic observation is the lack of intrusion by the researcher into the setting and behavior of interest. An example of naturalistic observation would be a training program evaluator watching the content of the training and participant observations through closed-circuit television to assess comprehensiveness of the training program. In this example, the participants are not aware of the observer and, as such, do not shift their behavior to make a favorable impression. Participant observation is the other broad category of observational techniques and can take one Complete ...