PSY2 – Research Methods: Lesson 20


PSY2 RM PowerpointTeachers or students who want the original PPT please tweet @psychopepper

Learning Objectives

  • To KNOW and UNDERSTAND what the features are of all six types of observation.
  • To be able to EVALUATE the strengths and limitations of these observations.

Lesson Outline:


  1. Watch a clip of an undercover panorama to reflect on method used to gather information and the relative strengths and limitations.
  2. To take notes on each type of observation in booklet
  3. To begin a 12mark design a study question, initially only writing the answer to the first bullet point.

Content Recap:

Naturalistic: carried out in an everyday setting, researcher does not interfere, observes behaviour occurring naturally.  This has the strengths of ecological validity and mundane realism but the limitations of replication and control.  This is the opposite to…
Controlled: certain variables have been organised by the researcher so that behaviour can be observed
Overt: participants are aware their behaviour is being observed.  This has the strengths of better ethics with informed consent being possible but the limitation of participant reactivity, specifically the Hawthorne Effect and demand characteristics. This is the opposite to…
Covert: Participants are being observed without their knowledge, either undercover or through the use of cameras.
Participant: Observations are made by someone who is also participating in the activity being observed. This has the strengths of a subjective understanding of the experiences of participants but the limitations of losing objectivity in reporting.This is the opposite to…
Non-Participant: Observations are made by someone who is not participating in the activity being observed.

If you would like to access PsychoPepper’s Glossary of Terms please click here

Resources Used:

Study Notes (TBC):

If you would like to download a set of study notes for this lesson, you can do so here. If you would like access to the original word file please tweet @psychopepper


I would suggest that you have a copy of one of the textbooks which will allow you to read around the subject matter, pre-read ahead of lessons or even take extra notes/practise questions afterwards. I would recommend the following (you do not need to replicate books, one of each type is plenty!)

Extra ReadingElephants on Acid or Hippo Eats Dwarf

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