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Meaning and Definition of Observation Method, Types of Observation Method


Meaning of Observation 


All the people of the world depend on observation only. We all keep observing in everyday life. It is through continuous observation every moment in life that we fill our knowledge store. The meaning of observation is to learn by observing something, it is called observation, now you must have understood the meaning of observation. Now we proceed to the definition of observation.


Definitions of Observation Method 


According to P. V. Young - "Observation is the method of organizing the events naturally observed by the eyes."

According to C.A. Moser - "Elegantly observation can be called a classical method of scientific investigation. Eyes are used more in observation."


Features of observation Method 


1. Collection of Primary Data- Observation method is used to collect primary data.  

2. Direct Method- According to the direct method, the observer establishes his direct relation with the subject area and collects the material as appropriately as possible.

3. Thoughtful Study- Observation is a very slow moving method and that is why whatever is studied in it is done thoughtfully.


4. Full use of the senses - In observation, maximum use is made of the ears and speech, especially the eyes.

5. More reliable material - In this method, the observer himself goes to the informer and after building a close relationship, the material is collected by the expectation and help of the ears.


8. Cause-result relationship- The purpose of the observation method is to expand the events and try to find the cause-effect correlation that produces them.

9. Verification of the material received - In case of doubt about the information received, the union can inspect the material completely.


Limitations of Observational Method 


1. Social phenomena are not observable- All phenomena cannot be observed. Some phenomena and behavior cannot be observed. Social behavior cannot be observed. Therefore observational method is not suitable for the study.

2. Absence of the observer- Some events happen so unexpectedly that the observer is not present or cannot be present at that time.


3. Observation of some behaviours impossible- Some behaviours are such that they cannot be observed like:- Emotions, feelings and personal thoughts cannot be studied by observation method.


Types of Observation Method 

There are three main stages of the observation method-

Phase 1

1. Personal Observation- In this type of observation is done at individual level to study a particular phenomenon or group behaviour.

2. Group Observation - In this many people collect the material together and later all together discuss it with one person.


Phase 2.

A). Uncontrolled Observation :

1. Participant observation- Under this, the researcher establishes relationship with the communities or individuals whose study is included.

2. Non-Participant Observation : In this observation, the researcher does not become a member of any group whose actions and behaviours he studies, nor does he establish personal contact with the members of such group, this type of observation is effectless and reliable.


3. Semi-Participant Observation : In this type of observation, the observer participates in the activities of the group to such an extent that he can get some information even after being neutral like a skilled scientist.

B). Controlled observation :

Systematic observation is a controlled observation. In this type of system, observation is controlled by a variety of means. It is very difficult for a researcher to control the subject of research, but we can at least control ourselves. To control the observer, some means such as: - making a detailed plan of observation in advance, use of schedule and questionnaire, use of detailed field notes, use of map and other means such as: - use of diary, camera, tape-recorder etc. is done.


C). Collective observation :

In this system, the same problem and social phenomena are observed by many researchers, who are experts in different aspects of this social phenomenon. By collecting the material by many persons and later by the central person, compilation of their contribution and conclusions are drawn from it.

D). Participatory observation :

Participant observation was first used by "Mr. Lindemann" in his book "Social Discovery" in 1924. In this observation, the observer dissolves so much in the group that he leaves his personal feeling. And studies them by participating in their activities without telling their purpose.


Benefits or Importance of Participant Observation 


1. Direct study - Through this method, the behavior of the group is studied directly. Participates as a member of a group with whom opportunities for close relationships are available.

2. Detailed information- Detailed and precise study may not be possible through this method. There are possibilities of missing many important facts by other methods.


3. Actual Study - In this the researcher participates in their activities without stating their purpose. Therefore, there is no unnaturalness and pattern in the behavior of people.

4. Very easy study- There is no group that studies in it, it studies easily by mixing in the group.


5. Increase in the efficiency of the researcher - His efficiency increases and he remains familiar with the group's behaviour. He is introduced to real events.

6. Examination of the collected information - Observes and studies by being present himself. In such a situation, if any incident is suspected, it is possible to test its veracity.


Disadvantages of Participant Observation 


1. Full participation is not possible - Sabha Geeta is talked about in this type of study but it is not possible many times, because it is practical and difficult. In the study of wild people no one can be wild and in the study of beggars very few people can be beggars.

2. Limited Area Study- In this type of method the area of ​​study is very limited, because it is not possible for an individual to establish participation far and wide.


3. Expensive Method- This method is more expensive, because the researcher has to live in the field, and study each and every behavior of life, due to which the cost of money and time is high.

4. Lack of individuality- By which the researcher becomes an active member of the group he is studying rather than a scientist who becomes a member of the group. Where he gets affected by them on the occasion of happiness and sorrow etc.


5. Two tasks are not possible at the same time - In this type of research, the observer has to play two roles simultaneously, which is a difficult task. The role of a scientist and the role of a group member. And many times doubts arise from them.

6. Benefits of unfamiliar properties are not possible - Due to being familiar with the group, there is a possibility of missing many incidents. Many incidents are left as normal. Due to this, the observation does not become subtle and home. For this reason, due to being unfamiliar with the behavior of the group, every action cannot be studied.


Non-participant observation

In this the observer does not participate in the group action. He merely observes the activities of the group as a spectator. He does not study the social phenomenon in depth in this, only limits the study to the external aspects.


Features or properties of non-participant observation 


1. In this the researcher studies the phenomenon from a distance and avoids bias. Therefore, more subjectivity remains in such studies.

2. By this method confusion is solved. Because the confusion that arises due to the difficulty in understanding the questions through the questionnaire method is proved by this method.


3. Correct and reliable information is obtained through this method, because there is less possibility of bias in it. Informers also do not hesitate to give such information.

4. It consumes less time and saves money.

5. The observer gets more respect and cooperation because he gets the cooperation of every class due to being fair.


Disadvantages or Limitations of Nonparticipant Observation


1. In this the researcher does not study any phenomenon in depth.

2. In this the researcher lives like a stranger.

3. Purely non-participant observation is difficult because it is difficult to study in complete isolation from the community.

4. Actual information is not obtained by this method


Importance of observation 

1. Study becomes very easy by observation method. Studying by looking through eyes is considered easy and it is possible through observation method.

2. Man has been observing by this method since ancient times.


3. It is a direct method of observation. By which we study the behavior directly.

4. Reliable facts are obtained by this method.

5. Observation is helpful for the researcher in building hypotheses. Observations play an important role in testing hypotheses.


6. The study which is done by observation is subjective. Verity is found in the collected facts.

7. Through the method of observation, it is possible to make a subtle and deep study, because subtle facts of human behavior can be brought to light by the use of eyes.


Defects or limitations of observation 


Not all social phenomena are observable, observation method has its own limitations, all its defects or limitations are as follows-

1. There are possibilities of making mistakes in the observation method.

2. Suitable for all kinds of social events, this method is not suitable for husband-wife relationship.


3. The researcher sometimes does not remain present when the incident happens, in such a case the real study cannot be done.

4. Knowledge also has limitations.

5. There is more misuse of time and money in this.


Difference between participant and non-participant observation 


1. On the basis of the nature of participation – these two methods are different from each other. In participant observation, the researcher studies the events by becoming an integral part of the study group, while under non-participant observation, his field is in the form of an unchanged and neutral view. Is.

2. On the basis of depth of study- There is a clear difference in this. Through non-participant observation, it is also possible to study the behavior of the group and the related phenomena from minute to minute and very deep.


3. Based on group behaviours- Participant observation is more appropriate than expected participant observation. Participant observation makes it possible to see events in their natural form, whereas in optimists and logans, group members often produce changes in their behavior, as a result of which the scientificity of the study becomes questionable.

4. On the basis of time and expense - non-participant observation is considered more appropriate than participant observation, the reason being that today time and resources can be planned more efficiently under participant observation.


5. On the basis of the extent of objectivity- On this basis also the nature of participant and non-participant observation is different from each other. There is no such evidence under participant observation, on the basis of which the objectivity of the study can be certified.

On the other hand, through participatory observation, not only is every fact considered important and collected, but any other observation can also understand their authenticity by observing the ghat elections themselves. As a result, non-participant observation often becomes more objective.


6. On the basis of the verifiability of the information – on this basis also these two methods are different from each other. Self-observation through participant observation also cannot re-examine the facts collected by him. In contrast, under non-participant observation it is possible to re-examine the events at each stage of the study.

The reason for this is that in contrast to non-participant observation, observations are usually made of those facts which are either elements present in the group or the events which occur almost in a certain sequence. It is natural that the verification of such facts or incidents can be done again at any time.


7. The nature of participant and non-participant observation also varies greatly depending on the methods of study. Under participant observation, the observer tries to keep his real identity hidden in any case.

As a result, he can neither enter the schedule nor collect facts systematically through interview method. At most he can use observation cards and that too covertly.

On the contrary, under non-participant observation it is possible to use all those scientific techniques and tools which can make any observation more useful.


8. Participant observation can be successful only when the observer is well trained. A small mistake can make him a victim of the wrath of the group.

On the other hand, participant observation can also be done with simple skills and training. 

This is the reason why non-participant observation method is considered to be used for collecting primary material related to social phenomena, unless there is a great need for participant observation.