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Observational Methods




Illustrative Article: Observational Methods;Happiness, according to Aristotle, is the most desirable of all things. In the past few decade,many researchers have been studying predictors of happiness in an attempt to understand theconstruct.;Mehl, Vazire, Holleran, and Clark (2010) conducted a naturalistic observation on thetopic of happiness using electronically activated recorders (a device that unobtrusively recordssnippets of sound at regular intervals, for a fixed amount of time). In this study, 79undergraduates students wore the device for four days, 30- second recordings were madeevery 12.5 minutes. Each snippet was coded as having been taken while the participants wasalone or with people. If the participant was with somebody, the recordings were also coded for?small talk? and ?substantial talk.? Other measures administered were well- being andhappiness.;First, acquire and read the article;Mehl, M.R., Vazire, S., Holleran, S. E., & Clark, C.S. (2010). Eavesdropping onhappiness: Well- being is related to having less small talk and more substantiveconversations. Psychological Science, 21, 539-541.;Then, after reading the article, consider the following;1. What is the research question for this study?;2. Is the basic approach in this study qualitative or quantitative?;3. Is this study an example of concealed or nonconcealed observation? What are theethical issues present in the study?;4. Do you think that participants would be reactive to this data collection method?;5. How reliable were the coders? How did the authors assess their reliability?;6.How did the researchers operationally define small talk, substantive talk, well-being, andhappiness? What do you think about the quality of these operations definitions?;7. Does this study suffer from the problem involving the direction of causation? How so?;8. Does this study suffer from the third- variable problem? How so?;9. Do you think that this study included any confounding variables? Provide examples.;10. Given the topic of this study, what other ways can you think of to conduct this studyusing an observational method?


Paper#30320 | Written in 18-Jul-2015

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