Online Mind Mapping and Brainstorming

Create your own awesome maps

Online Mind Mapping and Brainstorming

Even on the go

with our free apps for iPhone, iPad and Android

Get Started

Already have an account? Log In

Observation Techniques by Mind Map: Observation Techniques
0.0 stars - reviews range from 0 to 5

Observation Techniques

Diary Description

Also referred to as Anecdotal Recording

Description

This observation technique is an informal account of an aspect/s of one child's development. It is usually conducted on an area that is of interest to the observer and quite often on an irregular basis, as such it can be an inadequate representation of a child's development.

Implementation

A common example of this type of technique is the 'baby milestone' books, where by a caregiver records milestones as they occur, eg: first steps or first words. It is often supported by photographs.  Annual pictures in the family photo album would be a pictorial representation of a Diary Description. This approach can also be seen in the classroom, for example a teacher jotting down notes on how well a 5 year old is settling down, perhaps paying attention to how quickly they settle after they are left, or grasping classroom routines.

Application/Use

Recordings of this nature are often biased and represent traits or developmental aspects of interest to the observer, subsequently making them subjective and inadequate as a sound description of a child's development. However despite this, the Diary Technique does have its uses and can often be a springboard for more systematic observations.  Through the recorded impressions, patterns may begin to emerge and be noticed, prompting further more analytical observation.  

Running Record

Description

This technique carefully builds up a description of what a child does over a period of time by looking at what he/she does from moment to moment in a particular setting. In order to be effective, it requires the observer to make an accurate description of the environment as well as the action.

Implementation

When conducting a running record observation the observer attempts to record, either with a tape recorder or on paper, everything that happens pertaining to the identified object of observation. This can be difficult to undertake for prolonged periods of time, usually betwen 15-20 minutes is all that can be sustained.  However a useful record can be built over time by completing a number of observations.

Application/Use

Running records can be extremely valuable technique for opening up a wide range of behaviours or events to observe. A disadvantage to this technique is that in an attempt to try and record the abundance of information, observers can become selective about what they record, subsequently distorting the picture.

Time Sample

Of both individuals or the use of an activity

Description

This is a variation of the running record technique.  A timer device alerts the observer and only action or activity occurring at that time is recorded after a set period of time the observer is alerted again and once again only information pertaining that that 'sample of time' is recorded. It can be likened to taking a single frame from a movie to carefully analyse, once sufficient samples have been taken, the observer is able to accurately build a record.

Implementation

This technique is simple to implement and can be conducted with the assistance of a stop watch or wrist watch with a seconds hand. Sampling times enables the observer to build an accurate record of activity.  

Application/Use

This technique is effective in recording behaviours of an individual child as well as enabling a record to be made of activity, for example at a reading corner. This information can then be considered to enable an accurate reflection to be based and acted on accordingly.    

Event Recording

An event focus

Description

This technique focuses on an event, for example the occurrence of a particular behaviour. Unlike Interval recording the timing between the event occurring is unimportant.

Implementation

Events being observed using this technique could be recorded using marks on a piece of paper, 'golf-counter or 'knitting counter', an electronic events recorder or by simply moving pebbles or buttons from one pocket/container to another.

Application/Use

This technique could be as simple as watching children interact and recording the number of times a behaviour/event occurs, for example physical contact.

Interval Recording

Further modification of the Time Sampling technique.

Description

This technique combines the behaviour sampling required for systematic recording and the narrow focus on a stipulated behaviours for detailed analysis. It involves marking on a table if the required/specified behaviour is present.

Implementation

With this technique observation occurs for a set period of time (10 seconds is common) then an interval occurs while notes are made prior to continuing for a further period of time.  

Application/Use

This technique although still possible, is difficult without specialised equipment, it is still one that should be carefully considered as it combines behaviour sampling to allow for systematic recording and the narrow focus to obtain detailed analysis.  

Time Sampling Using Categories

Similar in nature to Time Sample however has two key differences.

Description

As with Time Sample, snap shots are taken in order to build an accurate and complete picture.  However recording is reduced to noting a simple code or ticking the appropriate box. It looks at only if the predetermined behaviour is present or not and as such the category for the observable behaviour must be clearly and carefully defined.

Implementation

This technique, after the difficult task of clearly defining the actual behaviour being observed, is able to be utilised with several children simultaneously.

Application/Use

This technique is widely used when completing studies relating to behaviour analysis. It is able to provide a systematic record of the behaviour frequency. It is used in both baseline surveys as well as during treatment.

Duration Recording

How long a behaviour lasts

Description

This technique involves using observing and recording to establish how long a particular behaviour lasts. The observer makes a note of how long a particular behaviour occurs, for example how long students spend reading in the reading corner or playing at an activity.  

Implementaton

Although the only item that is required to under take this technique is a stop watch, more detailed and valuable information can gleamed by using a prepared sheet.

Application/Use

This activity can be used to record how long a child spends using an activity, it can also be used to verify and investigate statements such as "Tom is always fighting other children" or "Jane is always wandering around lost"

Trait Rating

As with Diary Description this technique is not as precise as the others, but still has a place

Description

In order to be effective this technique relies on the observer's careful unbiased recording and not on a 'hunch'

Implementation

In this technique a child is studied, usually for a set period of time, and then rated on a given trait for example a 3 in social on a 5 point scale.

Application/Use

This technique is often open to interpretation and as such can prove unreliable, to be of value it needs to be undertaken in conjunction with and to supplement other techniques