Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

2011 Edition
| Editors: Sam Goldstein, Jack A. Naglieri

Behavioral Observation

  • Jennifer L. Stapel-WaxEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79061-9_314



Behavioral observation is a broad term referring to a wide range of formal and informal techniques used by clinicians and researchers to document the behaviors of their clients and subjects. Often the term is used to describe behaviors that are observed during the course of an assessment. It also refers to observations made in other settings such as at home, work or school. Overall, the purpose of behavioral observations is to facilitate an accurate description and understanding of the client [2].


Behavioral observations are building blocks that contribute to the foundation of clinical assessments. Observations are routinely collected as a part of a formal and structured psychological assessment process or as a component of a clinical assessment of behavior. Observations can be collected in numerous ways and in several settings [1, 3, 5].

In the most widely used definition of the term,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Associate Professor, Clinical Psychology ProgramArgosy University/AtlantaAtlantaUSA