Respond to the following in a minimum of 175 words: Post a survey that you find on the internet. Try to find one that is relatively brief- 10 questions or less. Refer to the table presented on page 127 of (2009) to you evaluate your survey on the following points: After evaluating your survey, discuss the importance of writing good survey questions. How can poorly-written questions yield biased results? Week Three Homework Exercise Answer the following questions covering material from Ch. 6 & 7 of : 1. What is reactivity? Explain how reactivity impacts measurement. 2. What are the key features of an experimental design, or ‘true experiment’? How does this compare to case studies? 3. What is survey research and when is it most useful? 4. What issues should be considered when constructing surveys? What are the implications of double-barreled, loaded, and negative questions? 5. What are some survey administration methods? When are each of these methods most appropriate? 6. Define interview bias and provide an example. 7. What is the difference between probability and non-probability sampling techniques? 8. A researcher attends an art reception in a major metropolitan city. She decides to approach people over the age of 50 and ask them to fill out a brief survey about purchasing artwork. Is this a probability or a non-probability sampling technique? What type of sampling procedure is this—simple random, stratified random, cluster, haphazard, purposive, or quota? 9. What is the relationship between sample size and survey results? What are some techniques to evaluate potential sampling bias? CHAPTER 6 & 7 LEARNING OBJECTIVES Page 118ALL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH REQUIRES CAREFUL OBSERVATION. In this chapter, we will explore a variety of observational methods including naturalistic observation, systematic observation, case studies, and archival research. Because so much research involves surveys using questionnaires or interviews, we cover the topic of survey research separately in . Before we describe these methods in detail, it will be ful to understand the distinction between quantitative and qualitative methods of describing behavior. Observational methods can be broadly classified as primarily quantitative or qualitative. Qualitative research focuses on people behaving in natural settings and describing their world in their own words; quantitative research tends to focus on specific behaviors that can be easily quantified (i.e., counted). Qualitative researchers emphasize collecting in-depth information on a relatively few individuals or within a very limited setting; quantitative investigations generally include larger samples. The conclusions of qualitative research are based on interpretations drawn by the investigator; conclusions in quantitative research are based upon statistical analysis of data. To more concretely understand the distinction, imagine that you are interested in describing the ways in which the lives of teenagers are affected by working. You might take a quantitative approach by developing a questionnaire that you would ask a sample of teenagers to complete. You could ask about the number of hours they work, the type of work they do, their levels of stress, their school grades, and their use of drugs. After assigning numerical values to the responses, you could subject the data to a quantitative, statistical analysis. A quantitative description of the results would focus on such things as the percentage of teenagers who work and the way this percentage varies by age. Some of the results of this type of survey are described in . Suppose, instead, that you take a qualitative approach to describing behavior. You might conduct a series of focus groups in which you gather together groups of 8 to 10 teenagers and engage them in a discussion about their perceptions and experiences with the world of work. You would ask them to tell you about the topic using their own words and their own ways of thinking about the world. To record the focus group discussions, you might use a video or audio recorder and have a transcript prepared later, or you might have observers take detailed notes during the discussions. A qualitative description of the findings would focus on the themes that emerge from the discussions and the manner in which the teenagers conceptualized the issues. Such description is qualitative because it is expressed in nonnumerical terms using language and images. Other methods, both qualitative and quantitative, could also be used to study teenage employment. For example, a quantitative study could examine data collected from the state Department of Economic Development; a Page 119qualitative researcher might work in a fast-food restaurant as a management trainee. Keep in mind the distinction between quantitative and qualitative approaches to describing behavior as you read about other specific observational methods discussed in this chapter. Both approaches are valuable and provide us with different ways of understanding behavior. Naturalistic observation is sometimes called or simply (see Lofland, Snow, Anderson, & Lofland, 2006). In a study, the researcher makes observations of individuals in their natural environments (the field). This research approach has roots in anthropology and the study of animal behavior and is currently widely used in the social sciences to study many phenomena in all types of social and organizational settings. Thus, you may encounter naturalistic observation studies that focus on employees in a business organization, members of a sports team, patrons of a bar, students and teachers in a school, or prairie dogs in a colony in Arizona. Sylvia Scribner’s (1997) research on “practical thinking” is a good example of naturalistic observation research in psychology. Scribner studied ways that people in a variety of occupations make decisions and solve problems. She describes the process of this research: “… my colleagues and I have driven around on a 3 a.m. milk route, ed cashiers total their receipts and watched machine operators logging in their production for the day … we made detailed records of how people were going about performing their jobs. We collected copies of all written materials they read or produced—everything from notes scribbled on brown paper bags to computer printouts. We photographed devices in their working environment that required them to process other types of symbolic information—thermometers, gauges, scales, measurement instruments of all kinds” (Scribner, 1997, p. 223). One aspect of thinking that Scribner studied was the way that workers make mathematical calculations. She found that milk truck drivers and other workers make complex calculations that depend on their acquired knowledge. For example, a delivery invoice might require the driver to multiply 32 quarts of milk by $.68 per quart. To arrive at the answer, drivers use knowledge acquired on the job about how many quarts are in a case and the cost of a case; thus, they multiply 2 cases of milk by $10.88 per case. In general, the workers that Scribner observed employed complex but very efficient strategies to solve problems at work. More important, the strategies used could often not be predicted from formal models of problem solving. The Scribner research had a particular emphasis on people making decisions in their everyday environment. Scribner has since expanded her research to several different occupations and many types of decisions. Other naturalistic research may examine a narrower range of behaviors. For example, Graham and her colleagues observed instances of aggression that Page 120occurred in bars in a large city late on weekend nights (Graham, Tremblay, Wells, Pernanen, Purcell, & Jelley, 2006). Both the Scribner and the Graham studies are instances of naturalistic research because the observations were made in natural settings and the researchers did not attempt to influence what occurred in the settings. The goal of naturalistic observation is to provide a complete and accurate picture of what occurred in the setting, rather than to test hypotheses formed prior to the study. To achieve this goal, the researcher must keep detailed field notes—that is, write or dictate on a regular basis (at least once each day) everything that has happened. Field researchers rely on a variety of techniques to gather information, depending on the particular setting. In the Graham et al. (2006) study in bars, the observers were alert to any behaviors that might lead to an incident of aggression. They carefully watched and listened to what happened. They immediately made notes on what they observed; these were later given to a research coordinator. In other studies, the observers might interview key “informants” to provide inside information about the setting, talk to people about their lives, and examine documents produced in the setting, such as newspapers, newsletters, or memos. In addition to taking detailed field notes, researchers conducting naturalistic observation usually use audio or video recordings. The researcher’s first goal is to describe the setting, events, and persons observed. The second, equally important goal is to analyze what was observed. The researcher must interpret what occurred, essentially generating hypotheses that explain the data and make them understandable. Such an analysis is done by building a coherent structure to describe the observations. The final report, although sensitive to the chronological order of events, is usually organized around the structure developed by the researcher. Specific examples of events that occurred during observation are used to support the researcher’s interpretations. A good naturalistic observation report will support the analysis by using multiple confirmations. For example, similar events may occur several times, similar information may be reported by two or more people, and several different events may occur that all support the same conclusion. The data in naturalistic observation studies are primarily in nature; that is, they are the descriptions of the observations themselves rather than statistical summaries. Such qualitative descriptions are often richer and closer to the phenomenon being studied than are statistical representations. However, it is often useful to also gather quantitative data. Depending on the setting, data might be gathered on income, family size, education levels, age, or gender of individuals in the setting. Such data can be reported and interpreted along with qualitative data gathered from interviews and direct observations. Page 121 Two related issues facing the researcher are whether to be a participant or non-participant in the social setting and whether to conceal his or her purposes from the other people in the setting. Do you become an active participant in the group or do you observe from the outside? Do you conceal your purposes or even your presence, or do you openly let people know what you are doing? A nonparticipant observer is an outsider who does not become an active part of the setting. In contrast, a participant observer assumes an active, insider role. Because allows the researcher to observe the setting from the inside, he or she may be able to experience events in the same way as natural participants. Friendships and other experiences of the participant observer may yield valuable data. A potential problem with participant observation, however, is that the observer may lose the objectivity necessary to conduct scientific observation. Remaining objective may be especially difficult when the researcher already belongs to the group being studied or is a dissatisfied former member of the group. Remember that naturalistic observation requires accurate description and objective interpretation with no prior hypotheses. If a researcher has some prior reason to either criticize people in the setting or give a glowing report of a particular group, the observations will likely be biased and the conclusions will lack objectivity. Should the researcher remain concealed or be open about the research purposes? Concealed observation may be preferable because the presence of the observer may influence and alter the behavior of those being observed. Imagine how a nonconcealed observer might alter the behavior of high school students in many situations at a school. Thus, concealed observation is less reactive than nonconcealed observation because people are not aware that their behaviors are being observed and recorded. Still, nonconcealed observation may be preferable from an ethical viewpoint: Consider the invasion of privacy when researchers hid under beds in dormitory rooms to discover what college students talk about (Henle & Hubbell, 1938)! Also, people often quickly become used to the observer and behave naturally in the observer’s presence. This fact allows documentary filmmakers to record very private aspects of people’s lives, as was done in the 2009 British documentary For the death segments, the filmmaker, Sue Bourne, contacted funeral homes to find families willing to be filmed throughout their grieving over the death of a loved one. The decision of whether to conceal one’s purpose or presence depends on both ethical concerns and the nature of the particular group and setting being studied. Sometimes a participant observer is nonconcealed to certain members of the group, who give the researcher permission to be part of the group as a concealed observer. Often a concealed observer decides to say nothing directly about his or her purposes but will completely disclose the goals of the research if asked by anyone. Nonparticipant observers are also not concealed when they gain permission to “hang out” in a setting or use interview techniques to gather Page 122information. In actuality, then, there are degrees of participation and concealment: A nonparticipant observer may not become a member of the group, for example, but may over time become accepted as a friend or simply part of the ongoing activities of the group. In sum, researchers who use naturalistic observation to study behavior must carefully determine what their role in the setting will be. You may be wondering about informed consent in naturalistic observation. Recall from that observation in public places when anonymity is not threatened is considered exempt research. In these cases, informed consent may not be necessary. Moreover, in nonconcealed observation, informed consent may be given verbally or in written form. Nevertheless, researchers must be sensitive to ethical issues when conducting naturalistic observation. Of particular interest is whether the observations are made in a public place with no clear expectations that behaviors are private. For example, should a neighborhood bar be considered public or private? Naturalistic observation obviously cannot be used to study all issues or phenomena. The approach is most useful when investigating complex social settings both to understand the settings and to develop theories based on the observations. It is less useful for studying well-defined hypotheses under precisely specified conditions or phenomena that are not directly observable by a researcher in a natural setting (e.g., color perception, mood, response time on a cognitive task). Field research is also very difficult to do. Unlike a typical laboratory experiment, field research data collection cannot always be scheduled at a convenient time and place. In fact, field research can be extremely time-consuming, often placing the researcher in an unfamiliar setting for extended periods. In the Graham et al. (2006) investigation of aggression in bars, observers spent over 1,300 nights in 118 different bars (74 male–female pairs of observers were required to accomplish this feat). Also, in more carefully controlled settings such as laboratory research, the procedures are well defined and the same for each participant, and the data analysis is planned in advance. In naturalistic observation research, however, there is an ever-changing pattern of events, some important and some unimportant; the researcher must record them all and remain flexible in order to adjust to them as research progresses. Finally, the process of analysis that follows the completion of the research is not simple (imagine the task of sorting through the field notes of every incident of aggression that occurred on over 1,300 nights). The researcher must repeatedly sort through the data to develop hypotheses to explain the data and then make sure all data are consistent with the hypotheses. Although naturalistic observation research is a difficult and challenging scientific procedure, it yields invaluable knowledge when done well. Page 123 refers to the careful observation of one or more specific behaviors in a particular setting. This research approach is much less global than naturalistic observation research. The researcher is interested in only a few very specific behaviors, the observations are quantifiable, and the researcher frequently has developed prior hypotheses about the behaviors. We will focus on systematic observation in naturalistic settings; these techniques may also be applied in laboratory settings. For example, Bakeman and Brownlee (1980; also see Bakeman, 2000) were interested in the social behavior of young children. Three-year-olds were videotaped in a room in a “free play” situation. Each child was taped for 100 minutes; observers viewed the videotapes and coded each child’s behavior every 15 seconds, using the following coding system: Child is not doing anything in particular or is simply watching other children. Child plays alone with toys but is not interested in or affected by the activities of other children. Child is with other children but is not occupied with any particular activity. Child plays beside other children with similar toys but does not play with the others. Child plays with other children, including sharing toys or participating in organized play activities as part of a group of children. Bakeman and Brownlee were particularly interested in the sequence or order in which the different behaviors were engaged in by the children. They found, for example, that the children rarely went from being unoccupied to engaging in parallel play. However, they frequently went from parallel to group play, indicating that parallel play is a transition state in which children decide whether to interact in a group situation. Numerous behaviors can be studied using systematic observation. The researcher must decide which behaviors are of interest, choose a setting in which the behaviors can be observed, and most important, develop a such as the one described, to measure the behaviors. Rhoades and Stocker (2006) describe the use of the Marital Interaction Video Coding System. Couples are recorded for 10 minutes as they discuss an area of conflict; they then discuss a positive aspect of their relationship for 5 minutes. The video is later coded for hostility and affection displayed during each 5 minutes of the interaction. To code hostility, the observers rated the frequency of behaviors such as Page 124“blames other” and “provokes partner.” Affection behaviors that were coded included “expresses concern” and “agrees with partner.” Equipment We should briefly mention several methodological issues in systematic observation. The first concerns equipment. You can directly observe behavior and code it at the same time; for example, you could directly observe and record the behavior of children in a classroom or couples interacting on campus using paper-and-pencil measures. However, it is becoming more common to use video and audio recording equipment to make such observations because they provide a permanent record of the behavior observed that can be coded later. An interesting method for audio recording is called the (EAR) that was used to compare sociability behaviors of Americans and Mexicans (Ramirez-Esparza, Mehl, Alvarez-Bermúdez, & Pennebaker, 2009). The EAR is a small audio recorder that a subject wears throughout the day. It is set to turn on periodically to record sounds in the subject’s environment. The study examined frequency of sociable behaviors. Previous research had found the Americans score higher than Mexicans on self-report measures of sociability, contradicting stereotypes that Mexicans are generally more sociable. Coders applied the to code the sounds as alone, talking with others in a public environment, or on the phone. When sociability was measured this way, the Mexican subjects were in fact more sociable than the Americans. Reactivity A second issue is —the possibility that the presence of the observer will affect people’s behaviors (see ). Reactivity can be reduced by concealed observation. Using small cameras and microphones can make the observation unobtrusive, even in situations in which the participant has been informed of the recording. Also, reactivity can be reduced by allowing time for people to become used to the observer and equipment. Reliability Recall from that reliability refers to the degree to which a measurement reflects a true score rather than measurement error. Reliable measures are stable, consistent, and precise. When conducting systematic observation, two or more raters are usually used to code behavior. Reliability is indicated by a high agreement among the raters. Very high levels of agreement are reported in virtually all published research using systematic observation (generally 80% agreement or higher). For some large-scale research programs in which many observers will be employed over a period of years, observers are first trained using videotapes, and their observations Page 125during training are checked for agreement with results from previous observers. Sampling For many research questions, samples of behavior taken over an extended period provide more accurate and useful data than single, short observations. Consider a study on the behaviors of nursing home residents and staff during meals (Stabell, Eide, Solheim, Solberg, and Rustoen, 2004). The researchers were interested in the frequency of different resident behaviors such as independent eating, socially engaged eating, and dependent eating in which is needed. The staff behaviors included supporting the behaviors of the residents (e.g., assisting, socializing). The researchers could have made observations during a single meal or two meals during a single day. However, such data might be distorted by short-term trends—the particular meal being served, an illness, a recent event such as a death among the residents. The researchers instead sampled behaviors during breakfast and lunch over a period of 6 weeks. Each person was randomly chosen to be observed for a 3-minute period during both meals on 10 of the days of the study. A major finding was that the staff members were most frequently engaged in supporting dependent behavior with little time spent supporting independent behaviors such as socializing. Interestingly, part-time nursing student staff were more likely to support independence. A is an observational method that provides a description of an individual. This individual is usually a person, but it may also be a setting such as a business, school, or neighborhood. A naturalistic observation study is sometimes called a case study, and in fact the naturalistic observation and case study approaches sometimes overlap. We have included case studies as a separate category in this chapter because case studies do not necessarily involve naturalistic observation. Instead, the case study may be a description of a patient by a clinical psychologist or a historical account of an event such as a model school that failed. A is a type of case study in which a researcher applies psychological theory to explain the life of an individual, usually an important historical figure (Schultz, 2005). Thus, case studies may use such techniques as library research and telephone interviews with persons familiar with the case but no direct observation at all (Yin, 2014). Depending on the purpose of the investigation, the case study may present the individual’s history, symptoms, characteristic behaviors, reactions to situations, or responses to treatment. Typically, a case study is done when an individual possesses a particularly rare, unusual, or noteworthy condition. One famous case study involved a man with an amazing ability to recall information (Luria, 1968). The man, called “S.,” could remember long lists and passages Page 126with ease, apparently using mental imagery for his memory abilities. Luria also described some of the drawbacks of S.’s ability. For example, he frequently had difficulty concentrating because mental images would spontaneously appear and interfere with his thinking. Another case study example concerns language development; it was provided by “Genie,” a child who was kept isolated in her room, tied to a chair, and never spoken to until she was discovered at the age of 13½ (Curtiss, 1977). Genie, of course, lacked any language skills. Her case provided psychologists and linguists with the opportunity to attempt to teach her language skills and discover which skills could be learned. Apparently, Genie was able to acquire some rudimentary language skills, such as forming childlike sentences, but she never developed full language abilities. Individuals with particular types of brain damage can allow researchers to test hypotheses (Stone, Cosmides, Tooby, Kroll, & Knight, 2002). The individual in their study, R.M., had extensive limbic system damage. The researchers were interested in studying the ability to detect cheaters in social exchange relationships. Social exchange is at the core of our relationships: One person provides goods or services for another person in exchange for some other resource. Stone et al. were seeking evidence that social exchange can evolve in a species only when there is a biological mechanism for detecting cheaters; that is, those who do not reciprocate by fulfilling their end of the bargain. R.M. completed two types of reasoning problems. One type involved detecting violations of social exchange rules (e.g., you must fulfill a requirement if you receive a particular benefit); the other type focused on nonsocial precautionary action rules (e.g., you must take this precaution if you engage in a particular hazardous behavior). Individuals with no brain injury do equally well on both types of measures. However, R.M. performed very poorly on the social exchange problems but did well on the precautionary problems, as well as other general measures of cognitive ability. This finding supports the hypothesis that our ability to engage in social exchange relationships is grounded in the development of a biological mechanism that differs from general cognitive abilities. Case studies are valuable in informing us of conditions that are rare or unusual and thus providing unique data about some psychological phenomenon, such as memory, language, or social exchange. Insights gained through a case study may also lead to the development of hypotheses that can be tested using other methods. involves using previously compiled information to answer research questions. The researcher does not actually collect the original data. Instead, he or she analyzes existing data such as statistics that are part of public records (e.g., number of divorce petitions filed), reports of anthropologists, the Page 127content of letters to the editor, or information contained in databases. Judd, Smith, and Kidder (1991) distinguish among three types of archival research data: statistical records, survey archives, and written records. Statistical records are collected by many public and private organizations. The U.S. Census Bureau maintains the most extensive set of statistical records available, but state and local agencies also maintain such records. In a study using public records, Bushman, Wang, and Anderson (2005) examined the relationship between temperature and aggression. They used temperature data in Minneapolis that was recorded in 3-hour periods in 1987 and 1988; data on assaults were available through police records. They found that higher temperature is related to more aggression; however, this effect was limited to data recorded between 9:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. There are also numerous less obvious sources of statistical records, including public health statistics, test score records kept by testing organizations such as the Educational Testing Service, and even sports organizations. Major League Baseball is known for the extensive records that are kept on virtually every aspect of every game and every player. Abel and Kruger (2010) took advantage of this fact to investigate the relationship between positive emotions and longevity. They began with photographs of 230 major league players published in 1952. The photographs were then rated for smile intensity to provide a measure of emotional positivity. The longevity of players who had died by the end of 2009 was then examined in relation to smile intensity. The results indicated that these two variables are indeed related. Further, ratings of attractiveness were unrelated to longevity. Survey archives consist of data from surveys that are stored on computers and available to researchers who wish to analyze them. Major polling organizations make many of their surveys available. Also, many universities are part of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR; ), which makes survey archive data available. One very useful data set is the General Social Survey (GSS; see their website at ), a series of surveys funded by the National Science Foundation. Each survey includes over 200 questions covering a range of topics such as attitudes, life satisfaction, health, religion, education, age, gender, and race. Survey archives are now becoming available online at sites that enable researchers to analyze the data online. Survey archives are extremely important because most researchers do not have the financial resources to conduct surveys of randomly selected national samples; the archives allow them to access such samples to test their ideas. A study by Robinson and Martin (2009) Page 128illustrates how the GSS can be used to test hypotheses. The study examined whether Internet users differed from nonusers in their social attitudes. Clearly, the findings would have implications for interpreting the results of surveys conducted via the Internet. The results showed that although Internet users were somewhat more optimistic, there were no systematic differences between those who use and do not use the Internet. Written records are documents such as diaries and letters that have been preserved by historical societies, ethnographies of other cultures written by anthropologists, and public documents as diverse as speeches by politicians or discussion board messages left by Internet users. Mass communication records include books, magazine articles, movies, television programs, and newspapers. An example of archival research using such records is a study of 487 anti-smoking ads that was conducted by Rhodes, Roskos-Ewoldsen, Eno, and Monahan (2009). They found that there were an increasing number of ads attacking the tobacco industry over time and that many of the ads emphasized the negative health impact of smoking. However, few ads attacked claims for the benefits of smoking such as stress reduction or preventing weight gain. is the systematic analysis of existing documents. Like systematic observation, content analysis requires researchers to devise coding systems that raters can use to quantify the information in the documents. Sometimes the coding is quite simple and straightforward; for example, it is easy to code whether the addresses of the applicants on marriage license applications are the same or different. More often, the researcher must define categories in order to code the information. In the study of smoking ads, researchers had to define categories to describe the ads, for example, or Similar procedures would be used in studies examining archival documents such as speeches, magazine articles, television shows, and reader comments on articles published on the Internet. The use of archival data allows researchers to study interesting questions, some of which could not be studied in any other way. Archival data are a valuable supplement to more traditional data collection methods. There are at least two major problems with the use of archival data, however. First, the desired records may be difficult to obtain: They may be placed in long-forgotten storage places, or they may have been destroyed. Second, we can never be completely sure of the accuracy of information collected by someone else. This chapter has provided a great deal of information about important qualitative and quantitative observational methods that can be used to study a variety of questions about behavior. In the next chapter, we will explore a very common way of finding out about human behavior—simply asking people to use self-reports to tell us about themselves. Page 129 ILLUSTRATIVE ARTICLE: OBSERVATIONAL METHODS Happiness, according to Aristotle, is the most desirable of all things. In the past few decades, many researchers have been studying predictors of happiness in an attempt to understand the construct. Mehl, Vazire, Holleran, and Clark (2010) conducted a naturalistic observation on the topic of happiness using electronically activated recorders (a device that unobtrusively records snippets of sound at regular intervals, for a fixed amount of time). In this study, 79 undergraduate students wore the device for 4 days; 30-second recordings were made every 12.5 minutes. Each snippet was coded as having been taken while the participant was alone or with people. If the participant was with somebody, the recordings were also coded for “small talk” and “substantial talk.” Other measures administered were well-being and happiness. First, acquire and read the article: Mehl, M. R., Vazire, S., Holleran, S. E., & Clark, C. S. (2010). Eavesdropping on happiness: Well-being is related to having less small talk and more substantive conversations. , 539–541. doi:10.1177/0956797610362675 Then, after reading the article, consider the following: 1. What is the research question for this study? 2. Is the basic approach in this study qualitative or quantitative? 3. Is this study an example of concealed or nonconcealed observation? What are the ethical issues present in this study? 4. Do you think that participants would be reactive to this data collection method? 5. How reliable were the coders? How did the authors assess their reliability? 6. How did the researchers operationally define and ? What do you think about the quality of these operational definitions? 7. Does this study suffer from the problem involving the direction of causation ( )? How so? 8. Does this study suffer from the third-variable problem ( )? How so? 9. Do you think that this study included any confounding variables? Provide examples. 10. Given the topic of this study, what other ways can you think of to conduct this study using an observational method? Page 130 Archival research ( ) Case study ( ) Coding system ( ) Content analysis ( ) Naturalistic observation ( ) Participant observation ( ) Psychobiography ( ) Reactivity ( ) Systematic observation ( ) 1. What is naturalistic observation? How does a researcher collect data when conducting naturalistic observation research? 2. Why are the data in naturalistic observation research primarily qualitative? 3. Distinguish between participant and nonparticipant observation; between concealed and nonconcealed observation. 4. What is systematic observation? Why are the data from systematic observation primarily quantitative? 5. What is a coding system? What are some important considerations when developing a coding system? 6. What is a case study? When are case studies used? What is a psychobiography? 7. What is archival research? What are the major sources of archival data? 8. What is content analysis? 1. Some questions are more readily answered using quantitative techniques, and others are best addressed through qualitative techniques or a combination of both approaches. Suppose you are interested in how a parent’s alcoholism affects the life of an adolescent. Develop a research question best answered using quantitative techniques and another research question better suited to qualitative techniques. A quantitative question is, “Are adolescents with alcoholic parents more likely to have criminal records?” and a qualitative question is, “What issues do alcoholic parents introduce in their adolescent’s peer relationships?” 2. Devise a simple coding system to do a content analysis of print advertisements in popular magazines. Begin by examining the ads to choose the content dimensions you wish to use (e.g., gender). Apply the system to an issue of a magazine and describe your findings. 3. Read each scenario below and determine whether a case study, naturalistic observation, systematic observation, or archival research was used.Page 131 LEARNING OBJECTIVES Page 133 EMPLOYS QUESTIONNAIRES AND INTERVIEWS TO ASK PEOPLE TO PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT THEMSELVES— their attitudes and beliefs, demographics (age, gender, income, marital status, and so on) and other facts, and past or intended future behaviors. In this chapter we will explore methods of designing and conducting surveys, including sampling techniques. Surveys are a research tool that is used to ask people to tell us about themselves. They have become extremely important as society demands data about issues rather than only intuition and anecdotes. Surveys are being conducted all the time. Just look at your daily newspaper, local TV news broadcast, or the Internet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting results of a survey of new mothers asking about breast-feeding. A college survey center is reporting the results of a telephone survey asking about political attitudes. If you look around your campus, you will find academic departments conducting surveys of seniors or recent graduates. If you make a major purchase, you will likely receive a request to complete a survey that asks about your satisfaction. If you visit the American Psychological Association website, you can read a report called that presents the results of an online survey of over 1,300 adults that was conducted in 2010. Surveys are clearly a common and important method of studying behavior. Every university needs data from graduates to determine changes that should be made to the curriculum and student services. Auto companies want data from buyers to assess and improve product quality and customer satisfaction. Without collecting such data, we are totally dependent upon stories we might hear or letters that a graduate or customer might write. Other surveys can be important for making public policy decisions by lawmakers and public agencies. In research, many important variables—including attitudes, current emotional states, and self-reports of behaviors—are most easily studied using questionnaires or interviews. We often think of survey data providing a snapshot of how people think and behave at a given point in time. However, the survey method is also an important way for researchers to study relationships among variables and ways that attitudes and behaviors change over time. For example, the project ( ) has been conducted every year since 1975—its purpose is to monitor the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American high school and college students. Each year, 50,000 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students participate in the survey. shows a typical finding: Each line on the graph represents the percentage of survey respondents who reported using marijuana in the past 12 months. Note the trend that shows the peak of marijuana popularity occurring in the late 1970s and the least reported use in the early 1990s. Recent years have seen a steady increase in use though. Page 134 FIGURE 7.1 Percentage of survey respondents who reported using marijuana in the past 12 months, over time Adapted from , Survey research is also important as a complement to experimental research findings. Recall from that Winograd and Soloway (1986) conducted experiments on the conditions that lead to forgetting where we place something. To study this topic using survey methods, Brown and Rahhal (1994) asked both younger and older adults about their actual experiences when they hid something and later forgot its location. They reported that older adults take longer than younger adults to find the object and that older adults hide objects from potential thieves, whereas younger people hide things from friends and relatives. Interestingly, most lost objects are eventually found, usually by accident in a location that had been searched previously. This research illustrates a point made in previous chapters that multiple methods are needed to understand any behavior. An assumption that underlies the use of questionnaires and interviews is that people are willing and able to provide truthful and accurate answers. Researchers have addressed this issue by studying possible biases in the way people respond. A is a tendency to respond to all questions from a particular perspective rather than to provide answers that are directly related to the questions. Thus, response sets can affect the usefulness of data obtained from self-reports. The most common response set is called , Page 135or “faking good.” The social desirability response set leads the individual to answer in the most socially acceptable way—the way that “most people” are perceived to respond or the way that would reflect most favorably on the person. Thus, a social desirability response set might lead a person to underreport undesirable behaviors (e.g., alcohol or drug use) and overreport positive behaviors (e.g., amount of exercise). However, it should not be assumed that people consistently misrepresent themselves. If the researcher openly and honestly communicates the purposes and uses of the research, promises to provide feedback about the results, and assures confidentiality, then the participants can reasonably be expected to give honest responses. We turn now to the major considerations in survey research: constructing the questions that are asked, choosing the methods for presenting the questions, and sampling the individuals taking part in the research. A great deal of thought must be given to writing questions for questionnaires and interviews. This section describes some of the most important factors to consider when constructing questions. When constructing questions for a survey, the first thing the researcher must do is explicitly determine the research objectives: What is it that he or she wishes to know? The survey questions must be tied to the research questions that are being addressed. Too often, surveys get out of hand when researchers begin to ask any question that comes to mind about a topic without considering exactly what useful information will be gained by doing so. This process will usually require the researcher to decide on the type of questions to ask. There are three general types of survey questions (Judd, Smith, & Kidder, 1991). Attitudes and beliefs Questions about attitudes and beliefs focus on the ways that people evaluate and think about issues. Should more money be spent on mental health services? Are you satisfied with the way that police responded to your call? How do you evaluate this instructor? Facts and demographics Factual questions ask people to indicate things they know about themselves and their situation. In most studies, asking some demographic information is necessary to adequately describe your sample; thus, questions about age, gender, and ethnicity are typically asked. Depending on the topic of the study, questions on marital status, employment status, and number of children might be included. Obviously, if you are interested in making comparisons among groups, such as males and females, you must ask the relevant information about group membership. You may also need such Page 136information to adequately describe the sample. It is unwise and even unethical to ask people to respond to questions if you have no real reason to use the information, however. Other factual information you might ask will depend on the topic of your survey. Each year, magazine asks readers to tell them about the repairs that have been necessary on many of the products that the readers owned, such as cars and dishwashers. Factual questions about illnesses and other medical information would be asked in a survey of health and quality of life. Behaviors Other survey questions can focus on past behaviors or intended future behaviors. How many days last week did you exercise for 20 minutes or longer? How many children do you plan to have? Have you ever been so depressed that you called in sick to work? A great deal of care is necessary to write the very best questions for a survey. Cognitive psychologists have identified a number of potential problems with question wording (see Graesser, Kennedy, Wiemer-Hastings, & Ottati, 1999). Many of the problems stem from a difficulty with understanding the question, including (a) unfamiliar technical terms, (b) vague or imprecise terms, (c) ungrammatical sentence structure, (d) phrasing that overloads working memory, and (e) embedding the question with misleading information. Here is a question that illustrates some of the problems identified by Graesser et al.: Did your mother, father, full-blooded sisters, full-blooded brothers, daughters, or sons ever have a heart attack or myocardial infarction? This is an example of memory overload because of the length of the question and the need to keep track of all those relatives while reading the question. The respondent must also worry about two different diagnoses with regard to each relative. Further, the term may be unfamiliar to most people. How do you write questions to avoid such problems? The following items are important to consider when you are writing questions. Simplicity The questions asked in a survey should be relatively simple. People should be able to easily understand and respond to the questions. Avoid jargon and technical terms that people will not understand. Sometimes, however, you have to make the question a bit more complex—or longer—to make it easier to understand. Usually this occurs when you need to define a term or describe an issue prior to asking the question. Thus, before asking whether someone approves of Proposition J, you will probably want to provide a brief description of the content of this ballot measure. Likewise, if you want to know about the frequency of alcohol use in a population, asking, “Have you had a Page 137drink of alcohol in the past 30 days?” may generate a slightly different answer than “Have you had a drink of alcohol (meaning one full can of beer, shot of liquor, or glass of wine) in the past 30 days?” The latter case is probably closer to what you would be interested in knowing. Double-barreled questions Avoid double-barreled questions that ask two things at once. A question such as, “Should senior citizens be given more money for recreation centers and food assistance programs?” is difficult to answer because it taps two potentially very different attitudes. If you are interested in both issues, ask two questions. Loaded questions A loaded question is written to lead people to respond in one way. For example, the questions “Do you favor eliminating the wasteful excesses in the public school budget?” and “Do you favor reducing the public school budget?” will likely elicit different answers. Or consider that women are less likely to say they have been raped than forced to have unwanted sex (Hamby & Koss, 2003). Questions that include emotionally charged words such as or influence the way that people respond and thus lead to biased conclusions; more neutral, behavior-based terminology is preferable. Negative wording Avoid phrasing questions with negatives. This question is phrased negatively: “Do you feel that the city should not approve the proposed women’s shelter?” Agreement with this question means disagreement with the proposal. This phrasing can confuse people and result in inaccurate answers. A better format would be: “Do you believe that the city should approve the proposed women’s shelter?” “Yea-saying” and “nay-saying” When you ask several questions about a topic, a respondent may employ a response set to agree or disagree with all the questions. Such a tendency is referred to as or The problem here is that the respondent may in fact be expressing true agreement, but alternatively may simply be agreeing with anything you say. One way to detect this response set is to word the questions so that consistent agreement is unlikely. For example, a study of family communication patterns might ask people how much they agree with the following statements: “The members of my family spend a lot of time together” and “I spend most of my weekends with friends.” Similarly, a measure of loneliness could phrase some questions so that agreement means the respondent is lonely (“I feel isolated from others”) and others with the meaning reversed so that disagreement indicates loneliness (e.g., “I feel part of a group of friends”). Although it is possible that someone could legitimately agree with both items, consistently agreeing or disagreeing with a set of related questions phrased in both standard and reversed formats is an indicator that the individual is “yea-saying” or “nay-saying.” Page 138 TABLE 7.1 Question wording: What is the problem? Graesser and his colleagues have developed a computer program called (Question Understanding Aid) that analyzes question wording. Researchers can try out their questions online at the QUAID website ( ). You can test your own analysis of question wording using the examples in . Questions may be either closed- or open-ended. With , a limited number of response alternatives are given; with , respondents are free to answer in any way they like. Thus, you could ask a Page 139person, “What is the most important thing children should learn to prepare them for life?” followed by a list of answers from which to choose (a closed-ended question), or you could leave this question open-ended for the person to provide the answer. Using closed-ended questions is a more structured approach; they are easier to code and the response alternatives are the same for everyone. Openended questions require time to categorize and code the responses and are therefore more costly to conduct and more difficult to interpret. Sometimes a respondent’s response cannot be categorized at all because the response does not make sense or the person could not think of an answer. Still, an open-ended question can yield valuable insights into what people are thinking. Open-ended questions are most useful when the researcher needs to know what people are thinking and how they naturally view their world; closed-ended questions are more likely to be used when the dimensions of the variables are well defined. Schwarz (1999) points out that the two approaches can sometimes lead to different conclusions. He cites the results of a survey question about preparing children for life. When “To think for themselves” was one alternative in a closed-ended list, 62% chose this option; however, only 5% gave this answer when the open-ended format was used. This finding points to the need to have a good understanding of the topic when asking closed-ended questions. With closed-ended questions, there are a fixed number of response alternatives. In public opinion surveys, a simple “yes or no” or “agree or disagree” dichotomy is often sufficient. In other research, it is often preferable to provide more quantitative distinctions—for example, a 5- or 7-point scale ranging from to or to Such a scale might appear as follows: Strongly agree _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ _____ Strongly disagree such as the one shown above are very common in many areas of research. Rating scales ask people to provide “how much” judgments on any number of dimensions—amount of agreement, liking, or confidence, for example. Rating scales can have many different formats. The format that is used depends on factors such as the topic being investigated. Perhaps the best way to gain an understanding of the variety of formats is simply to look at a few examples. The simplest and most direct scale presents people with five or seven response alternatives with the endpoints on the scale labeled to define the extremes. The response choices might be lines to mark on a paper Page 140questionnaire, check boxes, or radio buttons in an online survey form. For example, Students at the university should be required to pass a comprehensive examination to graduate. How confident are you that the defendant is guilty of attempted murder? Graphic rating scale A requires a mark along a continuous 100-millimeter line that is anchored with descriptions at each end. A ruler is then placed on the line to obtain the score on a scale that ranges from 0 to 100. Semantic differential scale The is a measure of the meaning of concepts that was developed by Osgood and his associates (Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957). Respondents are asked to rate any concept—persons, objects, behaviors, ideas—on a series of bipolar adjectives using 7-point scales, as follows: Research on the semantic differential shows that virtually anything can be measured using this technique. Ratings of specific things (marijuana), places (the student center), people (the governor, accountants), ideas (death penalty, marriage equality), and behaviors (attending church, using public transit) can be obtained. A large body of research shows that the concepts are rated along three basic dimensions: the first and most important is (e.g., adjectives such as good–bad, wise–foolish, kind–cruel); the second is (active–passive, slow–fast, excitable–calm); and the third is (weak–strong, hard–soft, large–small). Nonverbal scales for children Young children may not understand the types of scales we have just described, but they are able to give ratings. Think back to the example in ( ) that uses drawings of faces to aid Page 141in the assessment of the level of pain that a child is experiencing. Similar face scales can be used to ask children to make ratings of other things such as a toy. The examples thus far have labeled only the endpoints on the rating scale. Respondents decide the meaning of the response alternatives that are not labeled. This is a reasonable approach, and people are usually able to use such scales without difficulty. Sometimes researchers need to provide labels to more clearly define the meaning of each alternative. Here is a fairly standard alternative to the scale shown above: This type of scale assumes that the middle alternative is a “neutral” point half-way between the endpoints. Sometimes, however, a perfectly balanced scale may not be possible or desirable. Consider a scale asking a college professor to rate a student for a job or graduate program. This particular scale asks for comparative ratings of students: In comparison with other graduates, how would you rate this student’s potential for success? Notice that most of the alternatives ask people to make a rating within the top 25% of students. This is done because students who apply for such programs tend to be very bright and motivated, and so professors rate them favorably. The wording of the alternatives attempts to force the raters to make finer distinctions among generally very good students. Labeling alternatives is particularly interesting when asking about the frequency of a behavior. For example, you might ask, “How often do you exercise for at least 20 minutes?” What kind of scale should you use to let people answer this question? You could list (1) never, (2) rarely, (3) sometimes, (4) frequently. These terms convey your meaning but they are vague. Here is another set of alternatives with greater specificity (Schwarz, Knauper, Oyserman, & Stich, (2008): Page 142A different scale might be: Schwarz et al. (2008) call the first scale a because most alternatives indicate a high frequency of exercise. The other scale is referred to as low frequency. Schwarz et al. point out that the labels should be chosen carefully because people may interpret the meaning of the scale differently, depending on the labels used. If you were actually asking the exercise question, you might decide on alternatives different from the ones described here. Moreover, your choice should be influenced by factors such as the population you are studying. If you are studying people who generally exercise a lot, you will be more likely to use a higher-frequency scale than you would if you were studying people who generally do not exercise a great deal. The printed questionnaire should appear attractive and professional. It should be neatly typed and free of spelling errors. Respondents should find it easy to identify the questions and the response alternatives to the questions. Leave enough space between questions so people do not become confused when reading the questionnaire. If you have a particular scale format, such as a 5-point rating scale, use it consistently. Do not change from 5- to 4- to 7-point scales, for example. It is also a good idea to carefully consider the sequence in which you will ask your questions. In general, it is best to ask the most interesting and important questions first to capture the attention of your respondents and motivate them to complete the survey. Roberson and Sundstrom (1990) obtained the highest return rates in an employee attitude survey when important questions were presented first and demographic questions were asked last. In addition, it is a good idea to group questions together when they address a similar theme or topic. Doing so will make your survey appear more professional, and your respondents will be more likely to take it seriously. Before actually administering the survey, it is a good idea to give the questions to a small group of people and have them think aloud while answering them. Page 143The participants might be chosen from the population being studied, or they could be friends or colleagues who can give reasonable responses to the questions. For the think-aloud procedure, you will need to ask the individuals to tell you how they interpret each question and how they respond to the response alternatives. This procedure can provide valuable information that you can use to improve the questions. (The importance of pilot studies such as this is discussed further in .) There are two ways to administer surveys. One is to use a written questionnaire, either printed or online, wherein respondents read the questions and indicate their responses on a form. The other way is to use an interview format. An interviewer asks the questions and records the responses in a personal verbal interaction. Both questionnaires and interviews can be presented to respondents in several ways. Let’s examine the various methods of administering surveys. With questionnaires, the questions are presented in written format and the respondents write their answers. There are several positive features of using questionnaires. First, they are generally less costly than interviews. They also allow the respondent to be completely anonymous as long as no identifying information (e.g., name, Social Security number, or driver’s license number) is asked. However, questionnaires require that the respondents be able to read and understand the questions. In addition, many people find it boring to sit by themselves reading questions and then providing answers; thus, a problem of motivation may arise. Questionnaires can be administered in person to groups or individuals, through the mail, on the Internet, and with other technologies. Personal administration to groups or individuals Often researchers are able to distribute questionnaires to groups of individuals. This might be a college class, parents attending a school meeting, people attending a new employee orientation, or students waiting for an appointment with an advisor. An advantage of this approach is that you have a captive audience that is likely to complete the questionnaire once they start it. Also, the researcher is present so people can ask questions if necessary. Mail surveys Surveys can be mailed to individuals at a home or business address. This is a very inexpensive way of contacting the people who were selected for the sample. However, the mail format is a drawback because of potentially low response rates: The questionnaire can easily be placed aside and forgotten among all the other tasks that people must attend to at home and work. Even if people start to fill out the questionnaire, something may happen Page 144to distract them, or they may become bored and simply throw the form in the trash. Some of the methods for increasing response rates are described later in this chapter. Another drawback is that no one is present to if the person becomes confused or has a question about something. Online surveys Online surveys are increasingly being used by academic researchers (Buchanan & Hvizdak, 2009). It is very easy to design a questionnaire for online administration using one of several online survey software services. Both open- and closed-ended questions can be included. After the questionnaire is completed, the responses are immediately available to the researcher. One of the first problems to consider is how to sample people—how does the researcher provide people with a link to the online survey? Major polling organizations have built databases of people interested in participating in surveys. Online survey software services have mailing lists that can be purchased. There are online special interest groups for people with a particular illness or of a particular age that may allow the researcher to post a recruitment message. One concern about online data collection is whether the results will be similar to what might be found using traditional methods. One particular issue is related to response rates (the percentage of people that are asked to complete a survey that actually complete a survey). One study found that online surveys had an 11% lower response rate than other strategies (Manfreda, Bosnjak, Berzelak, Haas, & Vehovar, 2008). This could directly impact the validity of the data generated by such a survey. Relatedly, another problem with Internet data is the inherent ambiguity about the characteristics of the individuals providing information for the study. To meet ethical guidelines, the researcher will usually state that only persons 18 years of age or older are eligible; yet how is that controlled? People may also misrepresent their age, gender, or ethnicity. We simply do not know if this is a major problem. However, for most research topics it is unlikely that people will go to the trouble of misrepresenting themselves on the Internet to a greater extent than they would with any other method of collecting data. The ethical issues of Internet research are described in detail by Kraut et al. (2004), Buchanan and Hvizdak (2009), and Buchanan and Williams (2010). The fact that an interview requires an interaction between people has important implications. First, people are often more likely to agree to answer questions for a real person than to answer a mailed questionnaire. Good interviewers become quite skilled in convincing people to participate. Thus, response rates tend to be higher when interviews are used. The interviewer and respondent often establish a rapport that s motivate the person to answer all the questions and complete the survey. People are more likely to leave questions unanswered on a written questionnaire than in an interview. An important advantage of an interview is that the interviewer can clarify any problems the person might Page 145have in understanding questions. Further, an interviewer can ask follow-up questions if needed to clarify answers. One potential problem in interviews is called This term describes all of the biases that can arise from the fact that the interviewer is a unique human being interacting with another human. Thus, one potential problem is that the interviewer could subtly bias the respondent’s answers by inadvertently showing approval or disapproval of certain answers. Interviewer characteristics such as race, sex, or age can influence responses, especially when asking about sensitive topics. Imagine how you might respond differently if a male or female interviewer is asking about your sexual history. Another problem is that interviewers may have expectations that co
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