Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 992-993

Natural Observation

  • Jessica SparlingAffiliated withScott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology
  • , Ivy ChongAffiliated withScott Center for Autism Treatment, Florida Institute of Technology

Synonyms

Direct observation; Field observation; Naturalistic observation

Definition

Studying or assessing individuals as they interact in their typical environment.

Description

During an observation, there is no experimental manipulation, and data are recorded under the conditions that occur in the environment. Specifically, natural observation is a technique used in research and assessment, which is similar to direct observation, where information regarding an individual or individuals is gathered immediately while the individual’s behavior occurs naturally their everyday environment, rather than a laboratory or clinical setting [1]. Information gathered during observations may be used in order to identify environmental variables necessary to create an artificial laboratory or clinical environment in which to assess or conduct research in, to identify areas which need assessment or research, or may garner the information necessary when research or assessment is ...

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