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Methods of Observational Research Analytical Essay

Methods of Observational Research

There are two major types of observational research. These are the direct observationand indirect observation. Direct observation has two subdivisions which include observation with intention and observation without intention. Observation with intention captures a situation where the researcher and the subject of research know about observation real-time. It is quite helpful when capturing events that happened and someone is telling them to another.

Like the case of a reporter who wants to find out what was the cause of an accident, this does not require confidentiality. The information is mostly provided for public good and does not touch privacy or personal morality or ethics. On the other hand, observation without intention captures a situation where a researcher studies a subject without the subject’s knowledge of the process.

Detectives use this method. It is an important method because it reduces biasness and does not presupposes interference. Scientists argue that this research may raise moral and ethical reasons, hence the usefulness of this method (Ragin, 2005).

Type of Observational Method Used-Naturalistic Observation

My friend uses direct observation to collect his data. This may include the fact that he looks at reactions of the friends and their responsiveness. The method, also known as naturalistic observation, does not interfere with behavior. Such a study would require this kind of observation.

This is because it would appear inappropriate to interfere with the reaction of someone to what another says. The method should be as natural and authentic as possible on order to capture the mood of the setting to the best. This observation clearly has intention, which the subjects are aware, which negates its use (Ragin, 2005).

Friendliness of Conversation

I do not agree with my friend on his perceived influence on the friendliness of conversations. Observational data is subject to biasness. This hypothesis does not have a significant level of testing. He just comes up with a rate arbitrarily and concludes that he has a positive impact on conversations. His data is not spread out to capture all the possible responses or at least to be reasonable. That is, it does not have parameters such as ‘not friendly’ in its list (Ragin, 2005).

The research negates the fact that people involved in the research are friends. They may lie to make him feel friendly and alter the results of the research. He should get involved in conversations, in which not all participants are his friends. The setting should have an all-inclusive pass. He carried out the research himself which means that he might have used unorthodox means to gain what he wanted. He should let someone else to do the observations and make the conclusions (Ragin, 2005).

Effect of Scientific Method

The method allows the researcher to confirm a hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess subject to statistical confirmation. On confirmation, the hypothesis becomes true. There are two types of hypothesis. That is the null hypothesis (hypothesis that proposes that the statusquo remains) and the alternate hypothesis which states that there is a difference with the status quo.

In this case, the null hypothesis would be there and would not have an effect on conversations that my friend was engaged in. An alternate hypothesis is different from conversations my friend engages in. Therefore, scientific method gives credibility to an assumption. In this case, my friend gives credibility to the fact that he positively influences conversations (Ragin, 2005).

Different Method of Observational Research

I would recommend a study of a similar nature that will be carried out in order to confirm what my friend has. Two studies will provide a clearer result than one study. This will include a subtle looking at people’s reactions when my friend will be talking it or when he will be engaged in a conversation.

This may include use of hidden observing tools such as cameras. The positioning of these tools should capture every one’s facial reactions and undertones. This will show the researcher what my friend might have lost earlier. Maybe, the friends just wanted to tolerate him and make him feel like he owns and captures the mood of the group’s conversations, while they were fully disinterested (Ragin, 2005).

During the interview, the respondent provides the primary data for the study, and the views of the researcher are not important as most of the information comes from the respondent. The respondents are able to give their conceptualizations and interpretation regarding the topic under study.


My friend as the researcher was already biased. Going into a research when you are biased may yield biased results, which it actually did. As it was stated earlier is this paper, I would recommend that a similar study to be carried out using a different method. It means that while my friend will be conducting his research, someone else should do the study using observation without intention.

He may use cameras to capture the moment. My conclusion is that the study was flawed from the moment of inception, and subsequent research is what can confirm it. However, on the brighter side, my friend used a good sample, which exceeded a minimum of thirty-two (i.e. fifty).


Ragin, C. (2005). Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity. Bulletin of Sociological Methodologies, 23(9): 4-5.

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