Observational research is a term that encompasses many different forms of qualitative inquiry, each of which deals with monitoring and noting conditions as they exist in the field, rather than constructing an experimental design.[Page 1113] Observational research studies have been conducted with the consent of the human subjects under study (using certain subjects as informants) or without it (covert observation). This form of inquiry draws its roots from traditions of ethnography and anthropology, both of which have been incorporated into research studies in interpersonal communication and mass media. Because observational research, in all its forms, deals with natural settings and human subjects in a nonconstructed environment, this form of inquiry holds a number of benefits over experimental research designs that place participants in ...
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