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Observational Studies and Coding

Observational Studies and Coding

Observational Studies and Coding

Interviewee’s Behavior During an Interview

The naturalistic study will aim to study the behaviors portrayed by interviewees during interview sessions. The study will employ a sample of 50 interviewees to determine how interviewees are likely to behave when answering particular questions. The findings of the study will help in structuring future interviews.

Coder Name: …………………………………….

Coding Categories

Episode Eye Contact Appropriate Gestures Concise Answers Good Choice of Words Preparedness
When the interviewer asks about themselves
When the interviewer asks about their previous job
When the interviewers ask them about their anticipation of salary
When asked about the current global issues and how they could affect the organization
When the interviewer asks for suggestions on how to improve the organization

The coding categories are:

  • Eye Contact: The interviewee maintains (or does not maintain) eye contact with the person posing the question.
  • Appropriate Gestures: The interviewee uses the appropriate gestures relevant to their answers
  • Concise Answers: The interviewee provides short but satisfactory answers to the questions posed
  • Good Choice of Words: The interviewee uses appropriate words and powerful phrases that reveal their surety.
  • Preparedness: The interviewee answers questions in a manner that shows preparedness. Do not use words such as “mmmh, uh, like, actually,” and other words that show discomposure.

The codes to assess the behavior will range on a scale of 1-5, whereby the values indicate the extent to which the interviewee portrays the behavior (1= To a minimal extent, 2= To a small extent, 3= to Moderate extent, 4= To a great extent, 5= To a very great extent)

While conducting the observation, I will be an unacknowledged observer. This will prevent behavior bias (Stangor, 2015), whereby interviewees try to adjust their behavior when they know someone is interested in how they behave in particular aspects.


Stangor, C. (2015). Research methods for the behavioral sciences (5th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.


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Discussion: Observational Studies and Coding
In Chapter 7, you read about naturalistic research methods. This type of research is designed to help the researcher understand behavior in a setting where it occurs naturally rather than in a laboratory or other controlled setting. Naturalistic research is appealing because it simulates reality. However, it is challenging because the researcher has limited control over the participants and the settings.

Observational Studies and Coding

Observational Studies and Coding

Observational research is one of the common types of naturalistic designs. As a researcher, you might hide your identity and blend in with the natural environment. In this case, you would be an unacknowledged observer in the study. When appropriate, you also may let participants know about the study and reveal your identity, usually after you have conducted your observations. In this case, you would be an acknowledged observer in the study. In both cases, it is a challenge to measure and record the behavior you are studying because the participants are usually moving constantly and are scattered about, thus making it difficult to record every behavioral occurrence under observation. Since you are observing behavior and not using surveys or other means to collect participant data, you need to identify the behavior you are studying and use a coding sheet to track the observed behavior.

In this Discussion, you develop an idea for a hypothetical observational study and create a coding sheet you could use to record your observations.

To prepare:

Read Chapter 7 in your course text.
Review the coding form example in Figure 7.1 on page 138 of your course text.
Choose a setting where you would enjoy observing behavior. It might be someplace you go every day (like the grocery store) or a place you would like to go (such as a city park).
Create a coding form for a hypothetical observational study of your selected setting. Use the coding sheet in the course text as an example, but create something that is entirely your own. Note: This is a hypothetical study. You are creating a coding form but not conducting the observation study (because you would need to obtain IRB approval first).
Prepare to upload your coding form as an attachment (in .doc or .rtf format) to your posting.
With these thoughts in mind:

By Day 3
The topic of your hypothetical observational study. This should also be in your post’s “Subject” field this week (e.g., Child Playground Behavior).
In the main body of your post, provide background information on your hypothetical observational study, including the setting, why you are interested in this study, and what you hope to learn.
Explain whether you would be an acknowledged or unacknowledged observer and why.
Describe the types of behavior and the episodes you included on your coding form.
Upload the coding form you created as an attached document (.doc or .rtf format).

Stangor, C. (2015). Research methods for the behavioral sciences (5th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Chapter 7, “Naturalistic Methods”
Chapter 14, “Quasi-Experimental Research Designs”

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