The term observational research can encompass a broad swath of potential research methods, each of which is typically qualitative in nature and relies on collecting observable data in natural settings. Observational research can be useful in a number of settings within the fields of interpersonal communication, media studies, cultural studies, and other disciplines. In addition, there are multiple kinds of observational research methods, including participant observation, nonparticipant observation, covert observation, and online observation, each of which may be appropriate in certain contexts for answering appropriate research methods in these fields. This entry discusses the basic principles behind observational research, as well as the logic behind each kind of observational design.
Observational or field research most notably ...
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