Scientific Disciplinary Sector (SSD)
M-PSI/04 - DEVELOPMENTAL AND EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY
1. Having a basic knowledge of observation as a research method and a technique to collect data, and understanding the main epistemological and psychological issues related to observation.
2. Having a basic knowledge and understanding of the different theoretical perspectives which rely on observation as a main research or professional training method;
3. Have a basic knowledge and understanding of characteristics, use conditions, advantages and limits of the different qualitative and quantitative observational techniques based on direct and indirect observation of child behavior within her/his contexts.
4. Having a basic knowledge and understanding of the opportunities to use specific tools for observing and evaluating the child's abilities in different developmental domains.
5. Being able to use the different observational techniques learned during the course, and apply the most appropriate in educational practice.
6. Being able to design a simple research (or at least a good data collection) based on the observation of child behavior in an educational context.
7. Being able to assess the reliability and validity of data collected through observation, and to carry out a descriptive analysis of collected data.
The course is organized in two parts.
The first part, focused on theories, includes an introduction to observation. Contents:
- observation as a research method and as a technique to collect data
- main epistemological issues related to observation
- psychological processes related to observation
- theoretical perspectives that use behavioral observation (infant/child behavior) as a main research method and professional training method: Piagetian, ethological ecological, interactionist, psychoanalytic, and ethnographic perspectives.
The second, larger part focused on techniques, includes the presentation of the observational method and the presentation and exemplifying application of the main observational techniques. Contents:
- using observational methods in educational settings and research;
- quantitative approach, qualitative approach and mixed-methods;
- qualitative observational techniques: narrative account and narrative analysis technique
- quantitative observational techniques:
- coding system
- rating scale
- “indirect observation” techniques: questionnaires and rating scales for parents and teachers
- sources of distortion in collecting observational data: control possibilities;
- reliability and validity of observational data
- elementary statistics for use with observational data.
Lessons will be structured in theoretical presentations, discussions, exercises, and video observation and analysis aimed to apply the different observational techniques. Some lessons will include lab activities.
The preparation for the exam includes the study of an handbook of observational methods (1), a book on techniques and tools to be used in educational contexts (2), a short book on descriptive data analysis (3), and a research article based on observational method (4):
1) Aureli, T., e Perucchini, P. (2014). Osservare e valutare il comportamento del bambino. Bologna: Il Mulino.
2) Elia, L., e Cassibba, R. (2009). Valutare le competenze sociali. Strumenti e tecniche per l’età prescolare. Roma: Carocci.
3) Rossi, G. (2010, II reprint). Statistica descrittiva per psicologi. Roma: Carocci.
4) A recent research article based on an observational method, selected according to personal interest among articles published either in Developmental Psychology or Child Development (both available online or in Frinzi library).
Not attending students are also recommended to practice by using the following book of exercises:
Cassibba, R., e Salerni, N. (2004). Osservare i bambini: Tecniche ed esercizi. Roma: Carocci.
|1) Aureli, T., Perucchini, P.
||Osservare e valutare il comportamento del bambino
||Bologna: Il Mulino
|3) Rossi, G.
||Statistica descrittiva per psicologi
|2) Elia, L., Cassibba, R.
||Valutare le competenze sociali. Strumenti e tecniche per l’età prescolare
Oral exam, possibly integrated with a written exercise.
The students will have to demonstrate that they:
- know and understand both the principles that guide the observational method and the different observational techniques (how they work, when to use them, advantages, limits) and the theoretical perspectives that use behavioral observation;
- are able to relate and process the acquired knowledge;
- are able to apply the acquired knowledge to specific contexts of educational practice and research;
- are able to communicate in a clear and effective way, by using adequate terminology.