Methods widely used in the
natural and social sciences. Observational methods typically focus on naturally
occurring behaviour, thus contrasting with experiments, which study responses
to specially devised tests in a controlled setting. Observational studies may,
like experiments, compare a target group (say of autistic participants) with a
control group. The observational method usually involves coding of the
observations, analysing this information either quantitatively (e.g. scoring or
counting particular behaviours) or qualitatively (a more holistic appraisal).