What are the types of Observation?

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1. Casual and Scientific observation – An observation can be sometimes casual in nature or sometimes it may act scientifically. An observation with a casual approach involves observing the right thing at the right place and also at the right time by a matter of chance or by luck whereas a scientific observation involves the use of the tools of the measurement, but a very important point to be kept in mind here is that all the observations are not scientific in nature.

2. Natural Observation – Natural observation involves observing the behaviour in a normal setting and in this type of observation, no efforts are made to bring any type of change in the behavior of the observed. Improvement in the collection of the information and improvement in the environment of making an observation can be done with the help of natural observations.

3. Subjective and Objective observation – All the observations consist of the two main components, the subject and the object. The subject refers to the observer whereas the object refers to the activity or any type of operation that is being observed. Subjective observation involves the observation of the one’s own immediate experience whereas the observations involving observer as an entity apart from the thing being observed, are referred to as the objective observation. Objective observation is also called as the retrospection.

4. Direct and Indirect observation – With the help of the direct method of observation, one comes to know how the observer is physically present in which type of situation is he present and then this type of observation monitors what takes place. Indirect method of observation involves studies of mechanical recording or the recording by some of the other means like photographic or electronic. Direct observation is relatively more straight forward as compared to the indirect observation.

5. Participant and Non Participant observation – Participation by the observers with the various types of operations of the group under study refers to the participant type of observation. In participant observation, the degree of the participation is largely affected by the nature of the study and it also depends on the type of the situation and also on its demands.But in the non participant type of observation, no participation of the observer in the activities of the group takes place and also there occurs no relationship between the researcher and the group.

6. Structured and Unstructured observation – Structured observation works according to a plan and involves specific information of the units that are to be observed and also about the information that is to be recorded. The operations that are to be observed and the various features that are to be noted or recorded are decided well in advance. Such observations involve the use of especial instruments for the purpose of data collection that are also structured in nature. But in the case of the unstructured observation, its basics are diametrically against the structured observation. In such observation, observer has the freedom to note down what he or she feels is correct and relevant to the point of study and also this approach of observation is very suitable in the case of exploratory research.

7. Controlled and Non Controlled observation: Controlled observations are the observations made under the influence of some of the external forces and such observations rarely lead to improvement in the precision of the research results. But these observations can be very effective in the working if these are made to work in the coordination with mechanical synchronizing devices, film recording etc. Non controlled observations are made in the natural environment and reverse to the controlled observation these observations involve no influence or guidance of any type of external force.

This article has been written by KJ Singh a MBA Graduate from a prestigious Business School In India
Article Published:August 4, 2010
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  • shaista nazir May 7, 2012 at 1:39 am

    It is very interesting and helpful.

  • judith olivia February 2, 2013 at 5:04 am

    your post is ok and satisfactory

  • annalyn June 5, 2013 at 1:22 am

    how helpful

  • annalyn June 5, 2013 at 1:23 am

    for my assingment

  • mudassar mehmood August 31, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Such an extra ordinary & precious one !

  • reshma September 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

    brief information about types of observation

  • hafsa March 16, 2014 at 12:51 pm


  • kierw August 8, 2014 at 6:16 am

    can you give the citation ?

  • salma January 12, 2015 at 5:42 am

    it is really good effort

  • Atbia July 10, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    It is very useful . Thanks for that

  • ERICKROSS ORINGI August 25, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Has really helped me. Thanks for great work

  • bukenya charles October 17, 2015 at 3:38 am

    good research thanks

  • JOHN SMITH December 1, 2015 at 10:30 am

    appreciated and many thanks to all contributors

  • anam mehar December 17, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    can any one tell me what is visual aid observation and walk through space observation?

  • nicky juma February 22, 2016 at 5:48 am

    i like that

  • sol inovino June 28, 2016 at 2:28 am

    good for students

  • mansoor ahmed December 9, 2016 at 10:26 am

    good effort and knowledge enhancing but lacking concealed and unconcealed observation aspect

  • Aijaz ahmad January 7, 2018 at 12:50 am

    Yaa ur r right

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