Observation Meaning

What is Observation:

Observation is the action and the result of observing. It is also used to name a note in a writing to clarify or clarify a doubtful point. It can also be a comment or an indication. Observation is also an information gathering technique used, for example to carry out research or evaluation. This word comes from Latin observatĭo, -ōnis.

Scientific observation

Scientific observation is a strategy used by the scientific method. It is characterized by being a rigorous research process that allows obtaining information, describing situations and contrasting hypotheses. This type of observation consists of an intentional, selective and interpretive perception. The observer focuses his attention on a situation, a phenomenon or an object.

Observation types

Depending on the way the data is collected, the observation can be qualitative or quantitative. Depending on the physical involvement of the observer, the observation can be direct or indirect. Depending on the role the observer takes, he or she can be a participant or a non-participant. Depending on the level of systematization, a distinction can be made between systematic and unsystematic observation. Depending on the place where it occurs, the observation can be in the field or in the laboratory. Depending on the number of observers, it can be individual or collective.

Qualitative observation and quantitative observation

Qualitative observation is an observation technique characterized by having a lower degree of control and systematization in the collection of information. On the other hand, the role of the observer increases as their interpretations are taken into account. Quantitative observation is a systematic way of recording information, which is generally reflected numerically and which reflects measurable or objective data through observation.

Participant observation

Participant observation is an information gathering technique that consists of observing while participating in the activities of the group under investigation. It is used in social sciences such as Anthropology. It aims to provide relevant information through the participation of the observer. Some of the elements that must be taken into account are the degree of participation (active or passive), the way of accessing the group and the language used. Some instruments to record information can be personal and descriptive documents, narrative and mechanical records (photographs, videos ...).

Direct observation and indirect observation

Direct observation is an information gathering technique in which the observer gets in direct and personal contact with the phenomenon to be observed. In this way, first-hand information is obtained. Indirect observation involves the collection of data information provided by other subjects. It can be information that cannot be observed directly or that would be very expensive to carry out, such as personal routines.


It is a technique that involves paying attention to one's behavior and recording it. It is used, for example, to observe personal behavior and covert behavior. It serves as an evaluation and treatment strategy.

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