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Observational Methods (General)

Introduction

Observational methods applied to natural or habitual contexts are scientific procedures that reveal the occurrence of perceptible behaviours, allowing them to be formally recorded and quantified. They also allow the analysis of the relations between these behaviours, such as sequentiality, association, and covariation. In many situations, observational methods are the best strategy, or even the only strategy possible (Fernandez-Ballesteros, 1993): examples are the assessment of low level intervention programmes, interactions between peers, between children and adults, between the deaf and hearing, etc., social interactions at different ages, disputes between couples or in the workplace, the behavioural repertoire of the baby, poor body posture for specific tasks, kinetic non-verbal communication (of teachers, sportsmen and women, actors and actresses, etc.), analysis of movement in multiple activities, ...

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