Naturalistic Observation

Naturalistic observation is a research method that consists of observing participants’ behaviors in their typical environments. Naturalistic observation can provide in-depth information about an individual’s behavior, thoughts, or development, making it a valuable research method for those interested in individuals with disabilities. Naturalistic observation may occur in the field (e.g., via unobtrusive observation of an individual in his or her normal environment) or it may occur in more structured settings, such as a laboratory. Topics of research include many facets of daily life for individuals with disabilities, including functioning in school, work, home, and community. Naturalistic observation has many advantages, including high ecological and external validity, and the ability to study naturally occurring phenomena that are otherwise difficult or unethical to reproduce in a controlled ...

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