Forms of Scientific Observation and Research

Authored by: Jay E. Gould

Concise Handbook of Experimental Methods for the Behavioral and Biological Sciences

Print publication date:  December  2001
Online publication date:  December  2001

Print ISBN: 9780849311048
eBook ISBN: 9781420040869
Adobe ISBN:


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There are two basic forms of scientific observation: naturalistic observation, which is best used to describe phenomena and their relationships, and experimental observation, which is the best means for explaining phenomena and their relationships. Hence, the corresponding forms of scientific research are called descriptive research and explanatory/experimental research. These relate to the two aspects of the scientific goal of understanding discussed in Chapter 1, Description and Explanation. We will discuss experimental observation after first covering naturalistic observation and its various techniques.

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