Observational Research Methodology
Observational Research Methodology

In observational research, people and phenomena are observed in their most natural environments. Instead of using organized environments like study labs or focus groups, observational research methodology allows researchers to observe how their participants make decisions and respond to circumstances in their everyday lives.

When You Should Carry Out An Observational Study:

You should conduct observational research when you wish to:

  • observe how individuals act in a real-world situation.
  • observe how environmental influences affect behaviour.
  • explain a phenomenon.

Observational Research’s Benefits:

The primary benefit of observational research is that it gives organizations a chance to observe living beings in their natural environment, which can provide illuminating information that cannot be obtained through other techniques like focus groups and questionnaires.

Characteristics of Observational Research:

A good observational research methodology has the following characteristics:

  • Observation is systematic
  • Observation is objective
  • Observation is specific
  • Observation is quantitative
  • Observation is an Eyes-On Matter
  • Observation has a definite aim
  • The observation report is made right away

Observational Research Methodology:

There are two methods to carry out observational research.

1.  Naturalistic/Covert Observational Research:

It entails the researchers remaining anonymous and either disguising their presence or keeping a safe distance from the persons being studied. PhD dissertation help can be hired for this purpose.

2.  Controlled/Overt Observational Research:

In this type of study, the researchers make it clear why they are making the observations and identifying themselves as such.

Strategies That Must Be Followed In Observational Research Methodology:

The 7 strategies that must be followed to conduct effective and excellent observation research are:

1.  Record Facts in an Order:

Whatever you observe, record it in the same order as it occurs. Do not forget to mention the proper date, time and setting with every observation. It is also important to record the facts as you see them; do not add or subtract anything while you note down the observations.

2.  Use All Your Senses:

While observing, stay alert and active. Keep all your senses awake. Do not miss a single thing. Also, you should be able to multi observe that is, if you have to observe a lot of people all at once, you should be able of doing that.

3.  Be Free Of Bias:

Whether you observe or record, do it while staying neutral. Never get blinded by prejudice. Being biased strongly but negatively affects your research. So being neutral is very crucial in observational research methodology.

4.  Good Location:

Choosing a good location from where you are going to observe the surroundings counts a great deal in the observational research methodology. Consider finding a quiet spot to stand or sit so you can observe and hear what is going on around you.

5.  Collect Vivid Details Only:

Do not record what you are not sure about, you may end up noting down an observation that never really happened. Only write down the things that are clear and vivid and you do not have any doubts regarding their occurrence or source.

6.  Do Not State Your Personal Opinion:

Never add your opinion while preparing the observation research paper; only state what you saw and what you heard. Do not interfere with what you think, and never summarize information for there is also a chance that you might end up stating your own opinion in the summary or conclusion.

Always use vague and unambiguous terms if you do need to add a conclusion to the research paper of observational research.

7.  Use A Variety Of Observation Methods:

Using various observation methods for your observational research will rule out the chances of errors. For example, you can run the questionnaires as well as ask the questions in person. The information thus gathered from different research methods will be more valid and promising.

8.  Keep A Low Profile:

If possible, do not let the people you are observing know that they are being observed. Do this only when the objective of your observational research is harmless and it is not a matter of confidentiality. However, if you need to tell the research target about yourself, you must ask them to continue with their normal routine and stay honest.

Steps Involved In Observational Research:

Observational research methodology is carried out in the following order:

1.  Select A Goal For Your Research:

Recognize the purpose and objectives of your research. Determine who you want to observe and why, as well as the questions you are seeking to answer.

2.  Establish Research Objectives And A Research Guide:

Make a research strategy out of your research questions that how you’ll go about finding the answers.

3.  Decide How You Will Collect Data:

Choose between a naturalistic observational technique and an active participant approach. Also, choose whether you will be taking notes, taking pictures or recording audio or video. But as mentioned above, using more than one observation method proves to be more effective.

4.  Observe:

Enter the field and conduct your research. Also, make sure you get all required permissions in advance.

5.  Get Your Data Ready:

After the observation, get ready to analyze your data. Get the transcription of your audio and video recordings done, then begin to arrange your documents and notes.

6.  Investigate The Behaviours In Your Data:

Investigate the data and interpret it. To uncover themes and patterns in your data, systematically code and arrange it.

Example of Observational Research:

Observing the signs of suffering:

Severe cognitive impairment brought on by dementia may hinder verbal communication. Since these patients are unable to communicate their suffering to their carers, a precise evaluation of pain expression is crucial. Caretakers, however, frequently keep a sideline view of their patients.

This knowledge can be applied to enhance human observations as well as computer vision systems, which will help dementia patients receive better treatment.


To demonstrate, observational research methodology is very simple for you do not need to adjust the factors rather you work in the natural environment. If you follow the above-given strategies plus conduct the observational research keeping in mind steps in the same order as explained, you can carry out excellent observational research.

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