ObservationIn social sciences, the data to be collected directly for a research is called observation. The population sampling is studied closely and a reaction or behaviour of some incidents or social condition is found and according to needs of the research, the information is analyzed to get results.
This is a useful method of research in social sciences and has its own importance and benefits because the scientific research started from observation and with the time, its methods also progressed. The most of the knowledge of social science is through. observation because it is to be at social phenomena for inside and outside.
Characteristics of ObservationA modern social science has its roots in observation. According to Weber.
“All social researches start from observation and finish at observation which shows its importance.”
Weber has described the following characteristics of observation:
1. The most important characteristic of observation is its direction to provide the facility of study of a behaviour being occurred and the researcher has no need of asking questions about the behaviour of the people and thus he gets first hand data without being polluted.
2. The observational information is about the occurrence of an incident or social phenomena in a natural setting whereas these pertain to an artificial environment in some other method adopted by a research. In other words, observation decreases artificiality, especially when under observation subjects are unaware of study about them.
3. Some researches are such where verbal statement is difficult or meaningful expression of behaviour is difficult. Such researches are the best for observation as method of study of children because it is not possible for children to express the incidents or social conditions and the behaviour as well.
4. It is also successful in the circumstances where individuals are not ready to express themselves verbally but the researcher can gather much information in spite of this.
5. It is a method to test the results of a research by studying the real behaviour regarding that research.
6. The individual and his relation with the natural environment is maintained in this way of working by which the attained results can be generalized more correctly and faithfully. If a researcher is an able person, one can get results very near to the facts.
Disadvantages of Observation1. Lack of Control :
In the natural environment, the researcher cannot control the internal variables and unexpected variables. This is likely to affect the validity and quality of one's results.
2. Small Sample Size :
In observational method, the size of the sample is small. Therefore, the generalization of the results is not trust worthy and results can only be applied to the population with great care otherwise the situation may be different.