Naturalistic observation is another type of nonexperimental research that involves observing people’s behaviour in the environment in which it typically occurs.

Please submit your topic idea to **************** Include the following information:
Your hypothesis
Your specific sources of data – the measurement scales of the data, the sample size, the time period, etc
Your plan for analyzing your data – for example, if you are looking for an association between 2 variables, calculating a correlation is appropriate
Your preliminary review of whether there is sufficient existing research on the topic to justify your hypothesis – PsycINFO or Google Scholar can be used for this
If you cannot think of an appropriate topic and research question that you want to investigate, contact your Open Learning Faculty Member for assistance, but be prepared to make suggestions about areas of interest to you.

This assignment has two parts. Part A requires you to select a research topic, research question, and type of research design. Part B requires you to provide the references for your proposed research.
The first task of this assignment is to select a research topic that both interests you and is amenable to either naturalistic observation or archival research. These two nonexperimental designs are used in this assignment and in Assignment 4 because they do not require approval from a Research Ethics Board (REB).
Before considering a topic, it’s important that you understand the constraints of these two research methods. For additional information explaining more about the constraints of these research methods, refer to Dr. Sally Walters’s video Naturalistic Observation and Archival Data Research provided below:
© Thompson Rivers University
Naturalistic Observation and Archival Data Research (Assignment 3) Video Transcript available for download.

Naturalistic Observation
Naturalistic observation is another type of nonexperimental research that involves observing people’s behaviour in the environment in which it typically occurs. Researchers engaged in naturalistic observation usually make their observations as unobtrusively as possible so that participants are often not aware that they are being studied. Ethically, this is considered to be acceptable if the participants remain anonymous and the behaviour occurs in a public setting where people would not normally have an expectation of privacy. Grocery shoppers putting items into their shopping carts, for example, are engaged in public behaviour that is easily observable by other shoppers. For this reason, most researchers would consider it ethically acceptable to observe them for a study.
On the other hand, even while in public, people do have some expectation of privacy in some cases. For example, working out in a gym, eating dinner in a restaurant, or conversations are all situations where people have a reasonable expectation of privacy. In addition, you may not collect data in your place or work (either paid or voluntary), because have the right to expect that you only have one role in that situation.
Note that not all naturalistic observation studies are considered exempt from requiring REB approval. According to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2018) from the Government of Canada’s Panel on Research Ethics website, in order to remain exempt from REB approval, your project design must meet several criteria:
You may observe only the natural behaviour of others in a public setting.
You should observe the chosen behaviour at a distance and in such a way that the individuals do not come to learn that their behaviour is being observed.
You may not observe the behaviour of children or other vulnerable populations, such as residents of a care facility.
You may take notes as you conduct your observations; however, you may not make an audio, video, or other digital recording of the observed behaviour.
You may not identify any specific individuals when reporting the results of your study.
Some examples of research questions that could be addressed address using a naturalistic observation study include:
Do people take longer to pull out of a parking spot when there is another car waiting to take their spot?
Is there a relationship between gender and jaywalking?
Do people tend to smile more on sunny days?
Archival Research
An archival study involves the analysis of records or data that have already been collected for some other purpose. The data may include, for example, weather records, crime statistics, voting records, speeches made by public figures, census data, or sports statistics. Archival studies sometimes incorporate content analysis, a category of techniques that can involve specifying keywords, phrases, or ideas, and finding all occurrences of them in the data. These occurrences can then be counted, timed (e.g., the amount of time devoted to entertainment topics on the nightly news show), or analyzed in a variety of other ways.
Students sometimes misunderstand archival research as meaning research reports. Note that archival research requires the analysis of raw data that has already been collected. It does not use results of previous studies; those are other researchers’ analysis of their own raw data.
According to the Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans – TCPS 2 (2022) from the Government of Canada’s Panel on Research Ethics website, in order to remain exempt from REB approval, the archival data must be publicly accessible with no reasonable expectation of privacy. Thus, public archives, court records, newspaper headlines, and even the tweets of public figures may be used in an archival study without applying to an institutional REB for approval.
Some examples of research questions that could be addressed using an archival study include:
Are newspaper headlines more negative during the winter?
Is the average household income related to the number of hate crimes committed?
Is there a positive relationship between the temperature and the number of fouls committed during soccer matches?
Examples of some useful and publicly accessible data archives include:
Sports statistics available at any professional sports website
Wikipedia: List of Professional Sports
Wikipedia: Major Women’s Sport Leagues in North America
Climate data
Social science data archive
Canadian crime statistics
Statistics Canada
The General Social Survey
Canadian Community Health Survey
Links to other data sets from the APA
To help you get started on your research question, consider your interests (e.g., sports, consumer behaviour, social media use, crime, etc.). You might choose a question related to your interests by asking yourself: “What would I like to learn about that?”
Literature Review
Another critical issue in choosing a topic is whether there is an existing scholarly literature that you can draw upon. While some topics might be relatively easy to envision and collect data for – for example, predicting that more women than men walk their dogs on rainy days – not all topics are interesting or meaningful from a psychological viewpoint. If you cannot find any related work on the topic then you should choose another topic. If you have found a topic but cannot find any related literature, this suggests that the topic is not meaningful or interesting to psychologists, and that you will have a difficult time justifying your hypothesis and building a research report around it. Thus, you should expect to spend several hours refining your topic, and doing some background reading ahead of submitting it for approval to ensure that there are related articles you can review and refer to
Planning for Data Analysis
As you develop a topic for your original research, you also need to start thinking about how you will test your hypothesis, and how you will statically analyze your data. It is important that you develop a plan for this at the proposal stage, otherwise you may have data with no idea what to do with it. You may also need to read ahead in the textbook for this part.
See the Tutorial: Beginner’s Guide to Statistical Analysis
You will need to understand what type of data you are collecting. For example is it qualitative or quantitative? What scale of measurement is being used: ordinal, nominal, interval or ratio? What are the units of measurement? What is your sample size? How many pieces of data will you be collecting? These questions need to be answered by you before you get to the actual data collection.
See the Tutorial: Scales of Measurement
Statistics
Descriptive Statistics
In Assignment 3 you will obviously not be calculating any statistics, but you should be thinking ahead to what you will need to report.
See the following Tutorial on Descriptive Statistics
Inferential Statistics
The inferential statistics we will require are straightforward – most student research studies in this course are testing for associations or differences. We will try to help you to have a clean, clear, and simple research design so that no complicated statistics are needed to test your prediction.
See the Tutorial on Descriptive Statistics.
Note that we typically use the simplest inferential tests in research in this course, but this tutorial will give you an idea of the general goal of inferential statistics. In Assignment 3 you should be developing a clear plan for what inferential statistical test you will need to use.
Correlations
You might be testing for a correlation between, for example, the proportion of Canadians who are obese and the amount of exercise people report. For variables that are measured on interval or ratio scales, a Pearson r should be used to calculate the correlation. There are various statistics packages that will compute this for you – an easy-to-use calculator can be found here: https://www.socscistatistics.com/tests/pearson/
You should report the sample size (n= . . . .), the means and standard deviations of the variables, Pearson r, and the p value (if p< .05 your results are significant). Differences in Averages If your study is testing for a difference in scores between two groups - for example, the percentage of men stopping at a stop sign versus the percentage of women stopping at a stop sign, the appropriate statistic is a t-test for independent means (two-tailed, meaning that you accept that either average score could be higher). An easy-to-use t-test calculator can be found here: https://www.socscistatistics.com/tests/studentttest/default.aspx You should report the sample size (n= . . . .), the means and standard deviations of the variables, value of t, and the p value (if p< .05 your results are significant). Frequency Differences If your study is testing for differences in frequencies - for example counting how often something occurs rather than a score, then a chi-square is the appropriate statistic. For example, you could be looking at who stops at a stop sign: male drivers in cars, male drivers in trucks, female drivers in cars, and female drivers in trucks. A chi-square compares theoretical or expected frequencies with observed frequencies. An easy-to-use chi-square calculator can be found here: https://www.socscistatistics.com/tests/chisquare2/default2.aspx You should report the sample size (n= . . . .), the frequencies, value of chi-square, and the p value (if p< .05 your results are significant). Please read the notes included on all of the socscistatistics sites above - these should help you to understand these tests. The examples above are simple - yours may be more complicated. There are also many other statistical procedures used in inferential testing in psychology - our goal is to provide you with simple, clear examples of how statistics are used to see if your hypothesis is supported by your data. You are advised to consult with your Open Learning Faculty Member on the best procedure for your study. The p value is an important part of your results - you must keep in mind whether or not your results are significant, because these two outcomes are fundamentally different, and will shape how you discuss your results. Remember that the p value reports the probability with which you can accept that your results are due to chance p< .05 means less than a 5% chance; p<.01 means less than a 1% chance. Non-significant results mean that you have failed to support your hypothesis and can make no conclusions about the meaning of your results. See the Tutorial on p-values. You are required to get approval for your choice of a topic from your Open Learning Faculty Member. If you cannot think of an appropriate topic and research question that you want to investigate, contact your Open Learning Faculty Member for assistance, but be prepared to make suggestions about areas of interest to you. Now that you have decided on an acceptable research question and type of design, you can develop your research design in more detail. The overall purpose of Assignment 3 is to plan and describe exactly how you propose to answer your research question by conducting a nonexperimental research study using either naturalistic observation or archival data collection. The assignment will also get you started on finding appropriate related research. In Part A, answer all of the questions below that pertain to your chosen type of research design, whether naturalistic observation or archival, and provide the references required in Part B. Part A - Option A: Naturalistic Observation If selecting this option, follow the steps outlined below: State your hypothesis in the form of a prediction, not a question, that clearly describes the relationship you expect to observe. Give the operational definitions of your variables. Describe the sample that you will observe, including their relevant characteristics (e.g., age, gender, handedness, etc.) and the setting in which you will observe them (e.g., a food court, library, public transit, etc.). Be sure to include any criteria that could lead you to exclude any people from observation. Describe how you will ensure that your observation is unobtrusive. Remember, as a researcher you must be effectively invisible to those you are observing. That is, how will you ensure that the participants will not be aware that they are being observed? Describe specifically how you plan to analyze your data. What statistics will you use to determine whether your hypothesis has been supported? What statistics will you need to report? How will you know if your hypothesis has been supported or not? Describe how the research setting and the population you are observing will limit the generalizability of your results. As best as you can, identify your control variables. That is, what are you attempting to hold consistent across your observations (e.g., time of day) that could potentially influence the results? Discuss in detail how your procedure is consistent with the three core ethical principles—respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice—that govern research with human subjects. Find 5 scholarly articles that are relevant to your topic. Review what the authors did in each study and why, and what they found. Describe how each is relevant to your hypothesis, citing them in APA style. Show how your study will fill a gap in the literature that you have reviewed. Provide a References page containing your 5 sources in APA style. Part A - Option B: Archival If selecting this option, follow the steps outlined below: State your hypothesis in the form of a prediction, not a question, that clearly describes the relationship you expect to observe. Give the operational definitions of your variables. Describe the specific source of your archival data, including website addresses, and the criteria you will use when including or excluding any records. Describe the samples from whom data were collected. Describe how the archival data you are collecting and analyzing are publicly accessible and/or why the individuals whose behaviour is reflected in the records do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Describe specifically how you plan to analyze your data. What statistics will you use to determine whether your hypothesis has been supported? What statistics will you need to report? How will you know if your hypothesis has been supported or not? Describe how the particular archival data set you are collecting and analyzing will limit the generalizability of your results. As best as you can, identify the control variables that should be applied in this study. That is, what are you attempting to control or hold consistent (e.g., type of crime) across your observations that could potentially influence the results? Discuss in detail how your procedure upholds each of the ethical principles—respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice—that govern research with human subjects. Find 5 scholarly articles that are relevant to your topic. Review what the authors did in each study and why, and what they found. Describe how each is relevant to your hypothesis, citing them in APA style. Show how your study will fill a gap in the literature that you have reviewed. Provide a References page containing your 5 sources in APA style. Providing References Current research builds on previous studies; it is not isolated from the findings of earlier studies. Using the techniques practiced in Unit 1, conduct a literature search in order to identify 5 articles that are related to your research idea. The articles may be related because they focus on one or more of the variables that you are considering investigating for your research project. The articles should give you some background on previous research done in your area of interest. Your articles should be from refereed, peer-reviewed academic journals/periodicals. You are encouraged to consult PsycARTICLES or PsycINFO. If you are not sure if a particular journal qualifies as peer-reviewed and academic, please ask your Open Learning Faculty Member or a librarian. For information about APA style referencing, please consult Chapter 11 in your textbook, a reputable online source such as the Online Writing Lab from the Purdue University website, or TRU Library's Psychology Research Guide. Important! You are required to get approval for your choice of a topic from your Open Learning Faculty Member before submitting Assignment 3. The simplest way to achieve this is by emailing your Open Learning Faculty Member. You should expect that your Open Learning Faculty Member will ask you to clarify various aspects of your topic before giving it final approval. Do not collect any data or begin conducting your study until your submission of Assignment 3 has been graded and returned by your Open Learning Faculty Member. When your Open Learning Faculty Member does return your submission of Assignment 3, please carefully note the comments. You will be expected to incorporate the feedback you receive on Assignment 3 both in conducting the research and in the write-up that you submit for Assignment 4. Grading for Assignment 3 (45 marks) Refer to the following rubric for information about how your assignment will be graded: Exceeds Expectations Meets Expectations Almost Meets Expectations Does Not Yet Meet Expectations Major Problems Part A Q1 Hypothesis is phrased as a prediction with operational definitions of variables clearly described. (5 marks) Hypothesis is phrased as a prediction with operational definitions of variables described with one or two missing details. (4 marks) Hypothesis is phrased as a prediction with operational definitions of variables described but with one or two errors. (3 marks) Several errors in hypothesis and/or description of operational definitions (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) Part A Q2 All relevant characteristics of sample and setting described or specific data sources identified and inclusion/exclusion criteria clearly described. (5 marks) Most relevant characteristics of sample and setting described or specific data sources identified and inclusion/exclusion criteria described with minor missing details. (4 marks) Some relevant characteristics of sample and setting described or some data sources identified and/or inclusion/exclusion criteria incompletely described. (3 marks) Characteristics of sample and setting incompletely or inaccurately described or data sources not identified and/or inclusion/exclusion criteria not identified. (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) Part A Q3 Clearly describes appropriate data collection or public nature of raw data and expectations for privacy with no missing details. (5 marks) Clearly describes appropriate data collection or public nature of raw data and expectations for privacy with a few missing details. (4 marks) Clearly describes appropriate data collection or public nature of raw data and expectations for privacy with some missing details. (3 marks) Incompletely describes appropriate data collection or public nature of raw data and expectations for privacy. (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) Part A Q4 Clearly describes an informed and appropriate plan for statistical analysis of the data with no missing details. (5 marks) Clearly describes an informed and appropriate plan for statistical analysis of the data with a few missing details. (4 marks) Describes an incomplete plan for statistical analysis of the data but on the right track. (3 marks) Describes an incomplete and/or inappropriate plan for statistical analysis of the data. (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) Part A Q5 Describes several limitations to generalizability. (5 marks) Describes at least two limitations to generalizability. (4 marks) Describes one limitation to generalizability. (3 marks) Describes no limitations to generalizability. (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) Part A Q6 Accurately describes variables that will be controlled for or identifies variables that should be controlled for but may not be due to limitations in the raw data. (5 marks) Accurately describes variables that will be controlled for or identifies variables that should be controlled for but may not be due to limitations in the raw data, but with a few missing details. (4 marks) Incompletely or inaccurately describes variables that will be controlled for or identifies variables that should be controlled for but may not be due to limitations in the raw data. (3 marks) Does not describe variables that will be controlled for or identifies variables that should be controlled for but may not be due to limitations in the raw data. (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) Part A Q7 Accurately describes how procedure upholds respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice with no missing details. (5 marks) Accurately describes how procedure upholds respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice with a few missing details. (4 marks) Accurately describes how procedure upholds respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice with some missing details. (3 marks) Accurately describes how procedure upholds respect for persons, concern for welfare, and justice with many missing details. (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) Part A Q8 Clearly describes relevance of research articles to current study. (5 marks) Clearly describes relevance of research articles to current study with a few missing details or research lacks relevance to current study. (4 marks) Describes relevance of research articles to current study with several missing details or research lacks relevance to current study. (3 marks) Describes relevance of research articles to current study with many missing details and research lacks relevance to current study. (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) Part B APA APA style is perfect or near perfect. (5 marks) APA style is mostly accurate. (4 marks) APA style contains several errors. (3 marks) APA style contains many errors. (2 marks) Not submitted or inappropriate or topic not approved. (0 marks) [order_button_a]

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