Naturalistic Observation is something that is common to everyone with or without conducting an experiment. When you do use naturalistic observation in an experiment, you are watching people and seeing the way they act, react, and interact with a certain situation or with other people. This way, you are able to see them in a setting where they typically are unaware they are being observed. I have had to conduct an experiment involving naturalistic observation when observing students purchasing soda in the student union. Naturalistic observation as many advantages when you are trying to get the most accurate results. At the same time, naturalistic observation comes with a few disadvantages.
My experiment that I had to conduct was at the Penn State: Greater Allegheny branch campus in the student cafeteria. Since it is a branch of Penn State, there was a good diverse group of nationalities. With a “total of 150 participants were involved in which 68 were women and 82 were men” Hoch (2012) asserted that previous literature on the Comparison of the Purchasing of Soda Between Genders (p. 1). I watched student who were ringing out at the cafeteria to see the ration of soda buyers in comparison to other type of drink buyers. I would have to sit in the café and watch people go threw the line and then I would record my results to look over them later and compare.
There are many advantages to naturalistic observations such as that you are in a setting in which no one really knows you are watching them. When I conducted my experiment, no one knew that I was watching him or her choose what kind of drink he or she chose for that day. This can lead to more accurate results due to the fact that they aren’t influenced to choose a certain beverage when knowing someone was watching. This would be a good method to use when you want to find out a certain result in a setting that the participant would better act themselves rather than them knowing.
The disadvantages of naturalistic observation are because they do not know they are being watched, they may not respond or react in favor to the experiment. They may not have purchased a soda, and since I did not record when a person did not purchase a drink, the experiment it probably flawed. If a person knew, you would be allowing them to decide whether they want a drink or not what kind of drink they would choose. You would also be able to communicate with them and even when your not watching them ask what kind of drink they had bought from the cafeteria.
In this paper, we have talked about a few topics dealing with naturalistic observation. My experiment done in the past was a perfect example of naturalistic observation. We have also learned the advantages to using this method in research in good situations, meant to be watched in a neutral setting. We have also looked at how there may be a disadvantage to conducting an naturalistic observation experiment. Even with learning all the disadvantages and advantages, one can believe this is a good and accurate way of conducting an experiment as I have learned while I was conducting mine.
Hoch, Z. (2012). A Comparison for Purchasing Soda Between Genders. Unpublished manuscript, Pennsylvania State University.