Activity 1: Naturalistic Observation

Dr. R.G. Tonks

Part I: You will have to come up with some type of behaviour to observe in a natural setting. After taking 20 minutes to observe people in a their natural setting complete the following questions.

What did you observe in the first time period? (give brief description of the topic and what you observed)

How did you decide you observe it?

What conclusions can you make from these observations?

Did you feel that your initial ideas of what to observe worked out? If so why? If not Why not?


Part II - Taking the same topic and refining it (or selecting another topic) go back to the same (or another place) to observe behaviour. This time you will need to provide an operational definition for observation in this section. What that means is you will need to identify precisely what you are observing and how you are observing it, usually with some kind of counting or clearly defined criteria for its presence or absence. (e.g., aggression can be operationalized as punches per minute).


What was the topic of your observations? Why did you select this topic?

How did you operationalize your observed behaviour?

What conclusions can be drawn from your observations?

What were the problems or difficulties you faced?

How could you design a study that would work better?