Understanding the Definition of Observation

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Understanding the definition of observation – Observation is the crucial part of research. Without performing it properly, the observation will not give reliable result. In order to do it properly, we must understand the definition of observation first. As the name suggests, observation involve observing activity. The goal of this observation is to gather information. The information is obtained from primary source. Primary source of observation can be anything from object, behavior, change, and many others. The primary source can be different from one research to another.

Definition of Observation

Based on the definition of observation above, observation does not rely on primary source alone. What else are involved during this observing activity? People who perform this process are called as observers. Observers are using their senses to observe the primary source. Other than senses, observation also need instrument. The instrument can be used to measure or to help the observing activity. The information collected from the observation is recorded in form of data. The data is processed in further activity called as analysis. Researchers draw conclusion from this analysis to complete the goal of the research itself.

Categorization of Observation Based on Definition of Observation

Now that we already know about the definition of observation, it is time to understand the categorization of this elaborate process. Observation itself is categorized into several types. The categorization is based on several aspects. If it is categorized based on the existence of numerical value on the recorded data, then observation is divided into quantitative and qualitative. In quantitative observation, the recorded data involves numerical value. In most case, the analysis process requires further calculation of this recorded data. In other hand, qualitative does not involve such numerical value. The recorded data is about whether particular indicator is presence or absence during the observation.

Talking about the presence of particular entity during the observation, types of observation can also be categorized based on the presence of observer during the process. If the observer is present during an observation, then it is called as direct observation. However, due to the technical reason, observer may not present during the process. The observation is performed by recording the process with certain instrument. In many cases, indirect observation is performed when the observation takes continuous process for long time thus does not allow observer to do it manually.

It is interesting to point out that observation can be categorized into several types of observation based on any aspect involved. Despite the different types of observation is being performed, they follow the same method. The observation research method is executed in sequent in order to get reliable data. Let’s figure out the steps used on observation process.


According to the definition of observation, the main goal of observation research method is to gather data out of primary source. Therefore, the first step of observation method is to ask a question about the primary source. The question can only be answered by observing the primary source. After a series of observation is performed, researcher can start making hypothesis about it. Hypothesis is not a conclusion about the research. The next step of observation research method is making a prediction based the hypothesis drawn in the previous step.

Of course, the hypothesis can be confirmed or not. It is highly depending on the next step. The next step is called as testing. Testing can be performed by experiment. Researcher needs to create controlled environment to test the hypothesis. The result of this test can be analyzed to draw the conclusion. That being said, it is not the final step. The final step is reviewing the conclusion. It might needs other researcher to confirm the final statement from a research.

READ: Definition of Hypothesis, a Deeper Understanding about the Topic

There are several observation examples. One of the most popular observation examples can be found in many fields, including medical field. A doctor observing the respond of patient body after injection is a great example. The doctor acts as the observer, while the patient body is the primary source. The respond is categorized as information from this observation.

That is the brief introduction about definition of observation, including observation examples. In this article, we are not only learning about what observation actually is, but also categorization of observation as well. The categorization is based on specific aspect. Most importantly, it is also mentioned about an example of observation.


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