Are you a researcher? Do you know different research methods? How do you collect data about various studies? Do you do the observation study method? If you are a researcher and want to know about observational research method, this article may be helpful for you. As a researcher, you perform research through different means. One of these methods is an observational study. As a researcher, you know that observation is essential for studying the behavior of the population. This method is used in psychology, social studies, and other fields of research.
The study design is crucial to research. When you are reading about a research paper, you don’t know how the findings were designed. But if you are interested in the quality of research findings, you need to know about study design. If we go through the hierarchy of data collection, there is a widely accepted system of observation, evidence, controlled trials, and cohort research. These all belong to observational or experimental studies.
What is an Observational Study?
In simple words, when you want to understand the cause and effect relationships, you apply observational study. In this way, it is like experiments. But in contrast to experiments, you are not able to control the behavior. You do not apply a treatment to the group, but the researcher observes the response. A sample survey is an example of observational research. In an observational study, you find the consequences of a risk factor, an assessment, or another thing where you don’t try to change the affected. There are some types of observational studies, which are given below.
It is a group of people who are linked due to some likeness. For example, if you are researching birth control, a birth cohort will be the people who are born on a specific day or month. The research will compare these people with those who don’t fall into this category. It is an example of a cohort study.
In the case-control study, the researcher first identifies people with specific problems and then a group of similar people without much difficulty. For example, a searcher forms a group of rural people with heart disease and then also a group of the same category without this disease. He compares them and makes a hypothesis.
Advantages of Observation Study
Observation study has some advantages. Other researchers can verify an observation by using the same criteria and schedule. This means it may be tested for reliability. It is easy to analyze the observations as it is quantitative. No much time is consumed to analyze. It is easy to conduct an observational study. You can observe a specific behavior in its setting. This factor gives this study method of validity. This generates new ideas for further research.
Some researcher calls observation study biased and unreliable. They further term it unethical in some cases. Though their views have some evidence and logic, the observation study is famous in some fields of research.