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Observational Data Collection & Analysis

2008 Neil Martin, Chris Oliver & Scott Hall

  Collecting Data Data Editing Graphing Data  
  Analyzing Data Data Output Inter-Observer Reliability  
  Ordering Evaluation Downloads References  

  Distributed exclusively by Antam, ObsWin for Windows is an integrated software package for the collection and analysis of observational data  
  Variables (e.g. behaviours or environmental events) can be simultaneously recorded either in real time, or by linking data collection to a digital video file, using a mouse or the computer keyboard. Variables can be defined for either momentary and/or duration recording  
  The resulting data are stored in Timed Sequential Data (TSD) format. The program will also read in data collected using existing data collection programs - ABC Data Pro, Observer 3.0, Repp (Communitech International) *.BEH datafiles and PSION *.ODB datafiles - as well as comma delimited text files  
  In addition to the display and analysis of single files, a fileset (a list of multiple datafiles) can also be loaded allowing the analysis of multiple files  

Click thumbnails to view enlarged graphics

Collecting Data
  Up to 62 variables may be defined for data collection (including upper case and lower case letters) either as events or durations  
  Up to 7 mutually exclusive codesets may also be defined.  
  Auto-save option backs up data at intervals avoiding major calamities such as batteries running out  
  Quick save allows one to begin another observation within seconds  
  Notes may be collected during an observation session and are saved with datafile  
  Data collection controls may be directly linked to a digital video file (supports *.MPG, *.AVI, *.WMV, *.QT, *.MOV, *.VOB [DVD] formats)  
  Observation settings are saved (optionally, along with other general program settings) when you quit ObsWin, so that you do not have to spend time setting up your observation settings each time you wish to conduct a similar observation (e.g. using same variables, mutually exclusive sets etc.). Settings can also be saved in separate files that can be loaded when needed  

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Data Editing
  Datafiles are opened into a spreadsheet-like grid that allows in-place editing  
  Data integrity checks ensure that edited data remain in timed sequential format prior to analyzing and saving  
  New variables may be defined according to a number of criteria (e.g. combinations of the presence/absence of other variables) and are saved to the datafile for future analysis  

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Graphing Data
occgraph.gif (8940 bytes)    
  Occurrence graphs allow the temporal display of all selected variables, either second by second or in intervals  
  A cumulative onset graph plots the cumulative onset of a criterion variable and marks the onset of a target variable. This can be a useful way of (visually) identifying interval schedules  
  A frequency per interval graph allows one to plot the frequency per n intervals  
freqgraph.gif (9627 bytes)   A summary statistics bar chart shows the percentage occurrence of each selected variable in the datafile. If a fileset is being graphed one has the choice of displaying graphs for each file, summing the data across the files or using the means (the latter results in the option to display error bars giving an indication of the variance for each variable)  
  All graphs may be saved as Windows metafiles or bitmaps  

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Analyzing Data
  The Variable Summary Statistics option gives percentage occurrence, mean occurrence, number of onsets/offsets, frequency per n intervals etc. Once displayed on screen, there are options to print, save (in spreadsheet format) or graph the data  
  The Bout/Interbout Distributions option will produce frequency distributions (graphically) for bouts and interbouts of each selected variable  
  There are a number of different lag analysis options, both time-based and event-based (including autocorrelation and state transition analyses)  
  Burst analysis uses a methodology that extends the principle of lag analysis to allow the temporal association between a criterion and target variable to be examined  
  There are a number of analysis options that may also be applied:
Using a variable filter ensures that only that portion of the data where the specified variable filter is present/absent is analyzed
Using a time filter similarly restricts the analysis to within the limits of the specified time filter
One may also create new variables (e.g. new combination variables) which exist only in memory for the purposes of graphing or analyzing

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Data Output
  All resulting data are saved to a listing file that can be accessed by the ObsWin editor for printing, saving separately, annotation etc. One can easily scroll through each of the analysis output entries or directly access specific data  
Inter-Observer Reliability
  Inter-Observer Reliability may be easily computed for single or multiple pairs of datafiles. Statistics are presented as overall percentage agreement, agreement on occurrence, agreement on non-occurrence and (Cohen’s) Kappa and use a number of published algorithms for thr analysis  
  ObsWin is available for 500 – price includes the Windows program itself, a DOS version of the data collection program (for notebooks, palmtops etc.), a Windows CE version of the data collection program (for H/PCs and P/PCs), manual and technical support  
  The license agreement permits one to use one copy of the main Windows program on a single computer although the data collection programs may be freely distributed for data collection on any number of computers (e.g. laptops, palmtops etc.)  

Evaluation copies of the program may be downloaded from this website

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Martin, N., Oliver, C., & Hall, S. (1999). ObsWin: Observational Data Collection & Analysis for Windows. CTI Psychology Software News, 9, 14-16.

Kahng, S., & Iwata, B. A. (1998). Computerized systems for collecting real-time observational data. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 31, 253-261.



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