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date: 22 June 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Systematic observational methods require clearly defined codes, structured sampling and recording procedures, and are subject to rigorous psychometric analysis. We review best practices in each of these areas with attention to the application of these methods for addressing empirical questions that quantitative researchers may posit. Special focus is placed on the selection of appropriate observational methods and coding systems as well as on the analysis of reliability and validity. The use of technology to facilitate the collection and analysis of observational data is discussed. Ethical considerations and future directions are raised.

Keywords: Observation, observer, time sampling, event sampling, participant observation, focal participant sampling, semi-structured observations, scan sampling, interobserver reliability, Cohen’s Kappa, observer drift, reactivity, remote audio-visual recording

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