Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: June 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963978 | Print ISBN: 9781412909280 | Online ISBN: 9781412963978| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Behavioral Observation Methods, Assessment
Michelle S. Athanasiou
Behavioral observation is a widely used method of behavioral assessment. Unlike other methods of behavioral assessment, most of which rely on people's perceptions of behavior, behavioral observation involves watching and recording the behavior of a person in typical environments (e.g., classrooms). The assumption is therefore that data collected are more objective than are perceptions. Most methods of behavioral observation provide quantitative and objective data that can be used to determine current levels of behavior, to set goals for behavioral improvement, and to measure change following intervention plans. Depending on the nature of the behaviors of concern, observers may be interested in any one or a combination of several characteristics related to the behavior. The most common characteristic observed is frequency, or how often a behavior occurs. Other characteristics include magnitude (how intense a behavior is) and duration (how long a behavior lasts). A behavior change agent might be interested in ...