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Field Study: Definition & Research

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  • 0:01 Field Studies
  • 0:47 Method
  • 1:59 Observer Roles
  • 2:44 Qualitative Versus…
  • 3:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chevette Alston

Dr. Alston has taught intro psychology, child psychology, and developmental psychology at 2-year and 4-year schools.

Field studies are often done in natural settings or where the variables naturally occur. This lesson further discusses field studies, the various ways data is collected, and the components needed to collect an efficient sample of research data.

Field Studies

Field studies involve collecting data outside of an experimental or lab setting. This type of data collection is most often done in natural settings or environments and can be done in a variety of ways for various disciplines. Field studies are known to be expensive and timely; however, the amount and diversity of the data collected can be invaluable.

Field studies collect original or unconventional data via face-to-face interviews, surveys, or direct observation. This research technique is usually treated as an initial form of research because the data collected is specific only to the purpose for which it was gathered. Therefore, it is not applicable to the general public.

Method

Field studies should be carefully planned and prepared in order to ensure that the data collected is accurate, valid, and collected efficiently. The equipment needed will depend on the type of study being conducted. The process first starts with clearly stating the problem and defining the area of study. From there, a hypothesis, or a theory of explanation, is set forth to explain any occurrences expected for the specified group or phenomena. This is why, before a field study is conducted, it is important to identify the data/phenomena to observe.

Once the hypothesis has been established, the data can be classified and scaled so that it will be easy to know how to categorize information. Observations are classified because not all field observations will be needed; therefore, the observer can know what to look for and what to disregard. Observations are also scaled to give the observer a way to rank the importance or significance of what has been observed. Once field observations are concluded, this data will be analyzed and processed in order to resolve the problem initially presented or to accept or reject the hypothesis that was presented.

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