Research is a study in which professionals search again to find something. They use a different type of tool for their research and observation is one of them. In this article, we will discuss observation and the types of observation used in research.
What is Observation is research?
“Observation is a way to collect information by watching, participating, noticing physical characters through their senses or with the help of mechanical devices, is called observation.”
You must have to use your senses to collect data from the observer. Your focus must be on collecting information. You can notice with the help of mechanical devices by recording them or your own participation. The interest of the researcher is a very important factor in the observation.
For example: Now you are reading this article, your focus is to know what is observation in research and the types of observation. You could not be distracted by anything if you are a real observer. Your ultimate goal must be to know about observation after reading this article.
Types of observation in research:
These are the methods used by the observer to get desired data from the observers. Researchers use different methods to collect data. They use the most reliable method for this purpose. They also use more than one method when required for their research. There are five major types of observation.
- Structured observation/ Formal observation
- Unstructured observation / Informal observation
- Participant observation
- Non participant observation
- Hiden observation
We will discuss each of them with examples.
Structural observation in research:
When a researcher planed everything before observation then it’s called structured observation. This is also called formal observation because all decessions are preplanned before observation. It goes in a formal way to get information.
When a patient visits a doctor, the first of his/her history is taken. The history-taking form is preplanned like what question show be asked in the history of the patient.
Let’s discuss it with another example: In the Census all questionnaires are preplanned and everything is prepared before conducting the census, it’s also a good example of structured observation.
Unstructured observaton in research:
These are observations that the researchers conducted without any planning. They notice things suddenly. This is called unstructured observation. This is also called informal observation.
Let’s understand it with the help of an example: Suppose a doctor is going to his hospital, suddenly he saw an accident. He stopped there and watched that another doctor is giving CPR to the patient. This is an unstructured observation of the doctor called informal observation.
Participant observation in research:
When the researcher participates in the research with people of his/her interest, this is called participant observation. He/she observes the people by living with them or participating with them. He/she may record their’s personal information that is ethically and morally acceptable.
Let’s learn about participant observation with an example: If you want to observe the behavior of a teacher you may join his/her class as a student. The information you collect for that teacher is through participant observation.
Non participant observation in research:
This is a method in which researchers do not participate with the people. They notice the people from a distance. This is a more helpful method for observation because the observer can notice properly to the participants. But its disadvantage is that researchers may distract from the observation.
Hiden observation in research:
In this type of method, the researcher recorded the participant with the help of a mechanical device. That mechanical device may be the camera, microphone, or any other device. This is a morally and ethically wrong way to record the people without telling them. Sometimes it may be harmful.