PSY2 – Research Methods: Lesson 21

Designing Observations

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

Learning Objectives

  • To ANALYSE observations in order to categorise their types.
  • To KNOW and UNDERSTAND what a behaviour checklist/category is.
  • To KNOW and UNDERSTAND the features of good behaviour categories.
  • To KNOW and UNDERSTAND the features of behaviour sampling.
  • To APPLY the knowledge to design an observation.
  • To APPLY the knowledge to past exam questions.

Lesson Outline:


  1. Read the two example observations in booklet and classify them
  2. Take notes on what behaviour categories are in booklet
  3. Take notes on what behaviour sampling techniques there are in booklet
  4. Complete the 12mark design a study question, picking up where we left off and answering the last three bullet points.
  5. Design an observation to conduct around school

Content Recap:

Behaviour Checklists/Categories: Division of a target behaviour (such as aggression) into a subset of specific and operationalised behaviours.  These should be objective -meaning the observers should not have to make inferences about the behaviour, but should record explicit actions.  the list should be complete – cover all possible component behaviours and avoid a waste basket / miscellaneous category and they should be mutually exclusive of one another – an observer should not have to mark two categories at one time.
Event Sampling: counting the number of times a certain behaviour (event) occurs in a target individual
Time – Sampling: recording behaviours in a given time frame, for instance noting what an individual is doing ever 30sec

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

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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