Types Of Research Observation

types of research observation

Observation is the term used to refer to the process of finding out the necessary information required for a research and there are different types of research observation. These types of research observation vary only in the methodology and the basic principles remain the same and the ultimate goal of any observation will be to collect the required data for the research.


Covert observation is one among the types of research observation where the researchers do not reveal their identity. These types of research observation are adapted for the research process that demands discrepancy and the observations are mostly done on a long distance basis. Here, by the term distance we mean that the researchers keep their identity away from the subject’s knowledge even if they can be physically close to the research subject. The main advantages of these types of research observation are that, such an observation does not require the research subjects cooperation and solely depends on the researchers complete authority and requirement. Researchers can go to any extend, depending on their ability, to gather the data they require in these types of research observation. Another advantage of these types of research observation is that the research subjects character or behavior do not affect the overall result of the research because they are unaware about the things going on in most cases and also their response won’t be altered by the knowledge that they are being encountered by a researcher. Some people tend to manipulate their opinions and attitude when other people encounter them and this can be avoided.


Overt observation is the term used to refer to the types of research observation in which the researchers reveal their identity and identify themselves as researchers. Researchers admit their intention and also explain the purpose of their research and the meaning of activities they are going to conduct. In this case everything is dealt on the researcher – subject basis and things are to be planned in such cases. Unlike the covert observation method, in this method, the subjects will become conscious about the presence of the researcher and this can affect the behavior and attitude of the subjects. People tend to manipulate their behavior and try act in an ideal way, which they consider as the proper behavior, with their researchers. This often result in improper observations and may not yield the required outcome. Another disadvantage of these types of research observation is that the researcher has limits in accessing the data. Since his identity will be revealed, there will be a limit imposed on him about the areas he can access.

The only advantage of overt observation over covert observation is that the problem of deception that existed in covert observation method can be avoided in overt observation.


This is an observation method in which the researcher himself participates in the experiment along with subject so as to know how the experiment actually feels and he can get a more relative comparison on the results.