In its 21st-century manifestations, observation may be defined as an assortment of methods for systematically collecting; describing; and/or measuring the behaviors, events, and products exhibited in authentic environments. However, observation as a data collection technique is as old as human investigation. As far back as Thales of Miletus in the 6th century BCE, observation was the key to the establishment of the scientific philosophy. The advancement of science was often predicated on observation of nature and, according to the paleontologist and essayist Stephen Jay Gould, the observational format solidified positivism as the epistemological standard in science until the last quarter of the 19th century. A further indication of its influence is the concern researchers have expressed about how to conduct observation. As early as ...

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