Identifying observation research components You saw this study as an example in the section of systematic observation. Review it and answer the questions below.

A group of undergraduate students in a research methods course was interested in whether or not there were differences in the amount of social interaction among students in different majors. To answer this question they systematically observed instances (and non-instances) of social interaction in four different academic departments: Engineering, Psychology, Drama, and Chemistry. (1) A social interaction was operationally-defined as either a verbal or nonverbal acknowledgement of another person. The observers used an observation score sheet on which they listed
1.
Number of people interacting, by gender (M or F)
2.
Number of people not interacting, by gender (M or F)
3. For those interacting
  a. number of verbal interactions only, by gender, (M or F)
  b. number of interactions involving some physical contact such as hand slap/shake, hug, pat, or other (by gender, M or F)

The scoring system was checked for reliability between observers before the final data were collected. Observations were made in the hallway which included the department office in order to ensure that the majority of persons passing through were affiliated with that department. Each department was observed on four occasions for a period of thirty minute between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. The observers sat on the floor of the hallway, just outside the department office, and pretended to be doing homework. Every person that passed through the hallway during that time period was scored.


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(1) Foshee, Melanie A. (1994). Differences between some campus departments in type and frequency of social interaction. Unpublished manuscript.