Naturalistic Observation

Naturalistic observation is a nonexperimental, primarily qualitative research method in which organisms are studied in their natural settings. Behaviors or other phenomena of interest are observed and recorded by the researcher, whose presence might be either known or unknown to the subjects. This approach falls within the broader category of field study, or research conducted outside the laboratory or institution of learning. No manipulation of the environment is involved in naturalistic observation, as the activities of interest are those manifested in everyday situations. This method is frequently employed during the initial stage of a research project, both for its wealth of descriptive value and as a foundation for hypotheses that might later be tested experimentally.

Zoologists, naturalists, and ethologists have long relied on naturalistic observation ...

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