Samples • A different way of observing children is to look at samples of certain behaviors to discover how often, how long, or how when particular behaviors occurs. Time Sampling • In time sampling, the observer records the frequency of a behavior’s occurrence over time. The behavior must be overt and frequent (at least once every 15 minutes) to be a candidate for sampling. • The behavior must be specified (individual or group) and the presence or absence of the behavior should be recorded for short time intervals for uniform length. • The observer must prepare a head of time, determine what kind of behaviors to look for, what the time interval will be and how to record the presence or absence of the behavior. Such time sampling is used for behavior modifications. If the behavior is an inappropriate one, it is also important to use other tools (such as developmental checklists) to give a complete picture of the child.
Example - Jamie • To help an aggressive child-behavior definition includes: hitting, pushing, kicking, holding another against their will, taking another child’s toy. Jamie did not use words aggressively. • Time decided – 5 minute intervals • Recording 1 for occurrence, 0 for absence (duration recording). Tally marks can be used as well.
Time Intervals (5 minutes each) • Duration Recording (presence or absence) • Event Recording (frequency) • Event Recording (presence or absence)
Interpretation • Jamies’ aggressive actions on this day occurred mainly during the first 15 minutes and involved mostly hitting and pushing of other children. If this continues through out the week, the teacher might want to plan and interesting transition activity for Jamie to do by himself as soon as he arrives. Once he has made the transition, from home to school, he might then be able to interact with the other children.
Advantages • It takes less time and effort than narrative recording. • It is more objective and controlled because the behavior is specified and limited. • It allows the observer to collect data on a number of children or a number of behaviors at once. • It provides useful information on intervals and frequencies of behavior. • It provides quantitative results useful for statistical analysis.
Disadvantages • It is not an open method and therefore may miss much important behavior. • It does not describe the behavior, its causes, or results because its principal concern is the time interval, not the behavior. • It does not keep units of behavior intact because its principal concern is the time interval, not the behavior. • It takes the behavior out of its context and therefore may be biased. • It is limited to observable behaviors that occur frequently. • It is usually focuses on one type of behavior ( in this case an inappropriate behavior), and thus may give a biased view of the child.
Event Sampling • A method in which the observer waits for and then records a specific pre-selected behavior. • Event sampling is used to study the conditions under which particular behaviors occur or their frequency. • It may be important to learn what triggers a particular behavior-hitting, for instance- to find ways to control it. Time sampling used if time interval or time of the day were the important factors. If the behavior occurs at odd times or infrequently, event sampling is more appropriate (Martin, 1994)
Procedures... • The observer must first define the event or “unit of behavior.” Then, the setting in which it is likely to occur must be determined. • The observer takes the most advantageous position to observe the behavior, waits for it to occur, and records it (Example)
Interpretation • If subsequent observations of Derrell show the same sort of sequence as in the event sampling, the teacher could interpret this to mean that Derrel does not initiate the kicking, but rather responds to interference with his activities in this in appropriate manner. The teacher may want to help Derrel vent his frustration in an acceptable way other than kicking or hitting. He might also need in getting along with other children and feeling accepted. He might have keep off his shoes off in the classroom to prevent injury. Moreover, keeping his shoes off may reduce the kicking , since his own uncovered toes will soon teach him how it hurts to kick.
Advantages • It keeps the event or behavior intact, making analysis easier. • It is more objective than some methods because the behavior has been defined a head of time. • It is especially helpful in examining infrequent or rarely occurring behaviors.
Disadvantages • It takes the event out of context and thus may minimize other phenomena that are important to the interpretation. • It is a closed method that looks only for specified behaviors and ignores other important behavior. • It misses the richness of detail that anecdotes, specimen records, or running records provide.
Rating Scales • Rating scales indicate the degree to which a person possesses a certain trait or behavior. • Each behavior is rated on a continuum from the lowest to the highest and marked is marked off at certain points of the scale. • Behaviors must be well defined for a rating scale to be effective. • Useful in diagnosing multiple behaviors at the same time.
Types of scales • Graphic -
Numerical rating scale • Attention Span • Rarely finishes task, moves rapidly from one to another. • Usually needs encouragement to stay with task until complete. • Can usually remain with age appropriate tasks until it is finished. • Can stay with a chosen activity for a very long periods, even returning next day
Rating scale observer errors… • Contrary to other types of observation, rating scales calls for the observer to make an on the spot judgment rather than objective description (bias is a factor) • Observer may be influenced by what he/she already knows about the child! • To check bias, evaluate one trait for all before you move on to the next
Rating scales cont… • Advantages • Easy to design and consumes less time • Convenient to observe may traits and or many children at the same time. • Can measure difficult to quantify traits – shyness, for example. • Can be used by non specialist observers. • Easy to score and quantify than other methods.
Disadvantages of Rating Scales • Rating scales use a closed method. They examine specified traits and may overlook other important behaviors • they feature both the negative and the positive side of each trait • It is difficult to differentiate between each point on the scale (designer/observer) • Difficult to eliminate observer bias
Checklists • Checklists are lists of specific traits or behaviors arranged in a logical order. • The observer indicates presence or absence of the behavior or trait. • A survey or inventory of a situation can be done more efficiently with a checklist than almost with any other observation tool. • Information gained from anecdotal, running records can transferred to checklists to make the interpretation easier.
Good Checklists • Short, descriptive, understandable • Parallel in construction (word order, verb tense) • Objective and nonjudgmental • Positive in nature • Not repeated elsewhere in the checklist • Representative of behavior, not all inclusive
Advantages • They are easy, quick, and efficient to use • The non-specialist observer can use them with ease • They can be used in the presence of the child or later from remembered behaviors or recorded narrative observation • Several observers can gather the same information to check for reliability • These checklists help to focus observation on many behaviors at one time • They are especially useful for curriculum planning for individuals
Disadvantages • Closed in nature • Limited to presence or absence of trait • They lack information about quality and duration of behavior and a description.