Naturalistic Observation




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People Watching 101 – Naturalistic Observation




Many people enjoy sitting and watching other people.  As a budding psychologist, you should know that this is how psychologists often discover what they would like to study in greater depth.




For this assignment, you will go out into a space where people are congregating and observe them for about 30 minutes.  This type of research is called naturalistic observation.  The goal of naturalistic observation is to watch a naturally occurring behavior and not change it in any way.  People should not know they are being watched; otherwise, they may not act naturally.




Bring a pad of paper along with you and take notes about the things that you find interesting.  Just try to be unobtrusive.  Choose one particular behavior to focus on and watch several people.  Make sure that you focus on one behavior to watch and take notes on the behavior.  Try to be objective.  Note the behavior, but try not to interpret it.



Once you have completed your observations, attempt to form a theory about human behavior based on the observations you made.  Can you say anything about people in general based on what you saw?  Did you see similarities in people’s behaviors?




Document your findings in a 2 to 3 page paper.  Address the following:


1.      Describe the setting and time period.


2.      Describe the specific behavior you observed


3.      How was the behavior measured?


4.      What theory can you develop resulting from the observation?


5.      Describe and provide rationale/support for your generalization.










Respond to the prompt below.  Follow APA guidelines and include a title page, citations, and references.  Please utilize LIRN to help you get started with your search.  You may visit the Academic Resource Center for a guide on how to utilize LIRN successfully.




Choose three concepts from Module 1 that you have found most interesting.  Your submission must be at least 2 pages in length. Complete the following:


  1. Describe each concept.
  2. Explain the application each has to modern psychology or ‘real life.’