Guidelines for designing and conducting a study that applies observational methodology

M. Teresa Anguera, Angel Blanco-Villaseñor, José Luis Losada, Mariona Portell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


© 2018 Universitat de Barcelona Observational studies that use a combination of complementary methods can provide key insights into everyday behavior in natural settings. Many elements of human behavior are perfectly perceivable –and hence observable– in a multitude of everyday activities and settings, ranging from low-intervention programs to interactive studies analyzing different aspects of family life, social relations, performance in sport or at school, etc. Human behavior, however, also has elements that are only partially perceivable but that can be captured through indirect observation and subsequent analysis of oral behavior or written text or graphics. In this article, we present a schematic overview of the main steps involved in an observational study. The aim is to provide authors interested in embarking on such a study with some practical insights and guidelines that we hope will provide them with the knowledge and motivation to delve further into this field and ultimately design their own observational study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-17
JournalAnuario de Psicologia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Observational data analysis
  • Observational design
  • Observational instrument
  • Observational sampling
  • Quality of observational record
  • Recording

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