Case Control vs Cohort Study

Observation as a Method of Research

Together with introspection, observation is considered the oldest psychological method. Scientific observation began to be widely applied at the end of the XIX century. This method is suitable for areas where fixation of features of human behavior in different conditions was of particular importance. Thus, it was used in clinical, social, pedagogical psychology, developmental psychology. From the beginning of the 20th century, it is used in labor psychology.  This method is applied when it is either impossible or inadmissible to interfere with the natural course of the process.

Supervision in Medical Science

Until the 17th century, clinical supervision was the only method of cognition in medicine. C. Bernard calls this period of Medicine observational. He for the first time showed the limited nature of this method and became a pioneer of experimental medicine. Since the advent of the experimental approach to the study of diseases, medicine becomes scientific.

In some professions (medicine, criminology, etc.) the sense of observation is very important. If at the level of diagnosing the doctor misses some symptoms or changes, then this necessarily leads to the mistakes in diagnosis and treatment.The observational case study uses a method of supervision as the main instrument of research.  For these studies, a special program is prepared, in which indicators are introduced to describe the units of supervision (individuals, groups). The main purpose of this method is to fix the main features.

There are a number of types of supervision: a) external (of behavior) and b) self-observation (of experiences). Most often, the latter is used in psychiatry and experimental pharmacology. External observation may be involved and uninvolved, opened and latent. In the event that the researcher seeks to uncover the causes of conflict situations in the medical-preventive institution, he can use the method of the involved supervision. It is characterized by the fact that the observer for a certain period is included in the activity of the treatment. He operates in the prophylactic institution like a staff member or is present during the treatment and diagnostic procedures.

By constantly monitoring the activities and behavior of employees of this institution and patients, registering the relevant signs, the researcher can collect the necessary material (cohort study).The knowledge of the medical specialty (clinical specialization or medical statistics) allows the observer to fit into the daily life of the surveyed team more organically. If the observer is fully included in the activity of the medical and preventive institution, then his observation is called participating.Often in a medical sociological study, a doctor (sociologist) cannot directly see a particular social situation due to a number of circumstances. He monitors it in a certain sense from the side (through a description of this situation by its participants, eyewitnesses in oral or written form). This kind of supervision is called non-included.

When the supervision is open, the researcher does not hide his functions from the object. The latent supervision is used when it is impossible to collect the necessary social data in another way.One of the options for supervision, which can take place in a medical-sociological research, is self-observation. It can be standardized and no standardized depending on the supervision program (case control study).Observation as a method of medical-sociological research is especially effective under experimental conditions. In natural sciences, the observer, as a rule, does not influence the studied process (phenomenon).

In psychology, there is the problem of interaction between the researcher and the object. If the subject knows that he is being observed, the presence of the researcher influences his behavior. The limited nature of the observation method has led to the development of other, more “perfect” methods of empirical research: experiment and measurement.

The Difference between Case-Control Study and Cohort Study