Making objective observations
Did you know?
When making observations, you need to collect information that will give you a reliable picture of the child in a variety of settings and contexts.
It's time to learn some more about making observations and practising your observation skills. We will look at techniques and rules, how to select a suitable observation method, and how to remain objective throughout the observation process.
Observation techniques and rules
Observers need to develop efficient techniques for preparing and recording observations. The resource below contains some essential techniques for good observing and recording skills.
Selecting the right observation method
You need to be unobtrusive when you make observations. That is, the child should not know they are being observed. Many young children are not bothered by being observed, but on occasion it may change their behaviour. Be unobtrusive as this allows you to see them acting naturally. Some children will be more affected by your observation methods than others, so it is important to consider this when selecting the best method for the situation.
There are several different methods for recording your observations. They are:
- anecdotal records
- running records
- time samples
- developmental checklists.
You will need to choose the one that best suits your purpose. You can read more about this in Recording observations.
Now that you understand the purposes and values of a number of observation methods and have practiced using them, you need to be able to select the most appropriate observation method for your particular need.
For each of the purposes listed, choose which observation method you would use by selecting it from the drop down menu. Use each observation method only once. When you are ready, click the Check answers button to see if you are correct.
To find out a 4 year old child's interests I would use:
To gather information about a 3 year old child's behaviour I would use:
To find out the physical development skills of a 2 year old child as they play in the block corner I would use:
To find out which equipment is being used in the 2 - 3 years outdoor area I would use: