Observing child behavior: Theories and techniques (2009/2010)

Course not running

Course code
Name of lecturer
Manuela Lavelli
Manuela Lavelli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Sem. 1A dal Oct 1, 2009 al Nov 15, 2009.

Lesson timetable

Learning outcomes

This course is aimed to:
a)Provide students with theoretical and instrumental knowledge about observational methods and techniques that can be profitably used in both research and educational practice.
b)Foster the familiarization with some of the main techniques for observing children behavior in various educational settings (day-care, kindergartner, primary school).


The course is organized in two parts. The first one includes an introduction to observation either as a research method or as a technique to collect data, a discussion on basic epistemological issues related to observation - such as the relationship between ‘observer’ and ‘observed’ -, and the outline of the main theoretical approaches that use observation to study developmental processes. The second, larger part focuses on the presentation and the exemplifying application of the main observational techniques (narrative report, check-list, coding system, rating scale, Q-sort).

Didactic Methods:
Lessons will be structured in theoretical presentations, discussions, exercises, and video observation and analysis aimed to apply observational techniques.

References for the Exam:
1)Camaioni, L., Aureli, T., e Perucchini, P. (2004). Osservare e valutare il comportamento infantile. Bologna: Il Mulino.
2)D’Odorico, L., e Cassibba, R. (2001). Osservare per educare. Roma: Carocci.
3)A research article based on an observational method, selected according to personal interest among articles published either in Developmental Psychology or Child Development (both available in Frinzi library).
Finally, not attending students are also recommended to practise using the following book of exercises: Cassibba, R., e Salerni, N. (2004). Osservare i bambini: Tecniche ed esercizi. Roma: Carocci.

Assessment methods and criteria

Oral exam, possibly integrated with a written exercise.

Teaching aids