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Event Sample Observations In Childcare

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Event sampling is a useful observation technique for observing behaviours. It can be used to identify the child's response of certain behaviours, triggers and interactions.  
 
It is also used to determine how often a specified event or behaviour occurs. This information can be used to monitor developmental progress or the impact of changes in teaching strategies.

Advantages Of Event Samples

  • Facilitates effective collection of information to help inform Educators of possible triggers for an event/behaviour
  • Simple and easy to use
  • Builds up a picture of a specific behaviour
  • They can be adapted to suit different circumstances
  • The can be used to monitor progression and success towards any early intervention goals

Disadvantages Of Event Samples

  • Time (Requires planning & preparation).  Sometimes difficult to capture all that has occurred, particularly prior to an event. 
  • Needs a prepared chart and therefore cannot be spontaneous
  • Charts needs to be carefully designed in order to collect the relevant information
  • Data may not explain why the 'events' are occurring

When Should You Use Event Samples

  • To observe and record how many times a child shows a specific action/behaviour
  • To understand why a child may display such actions/behaviour
  • To determine if their are any patterns or triggers to the action/behaviour

How To Record Event Samples

Event sampling is normally recorded using the "ABC" technique:
  • A for Antecedent (possible triggers, behaviours, actions) immediately prior to the event;
  • B for the Behaviour (a summary of the observed behaviour)
  •  C for the Consequences (what happened immediately after the behaviour/event.

Event samples are usually created using a grid or chart format. The way the grid/chart is set out will depend on the information required. Remember the event to be observed is decided in advance.

Sample 1

Sample 2

Event sample  - frequency counts - involves observation of targeted behaviours or specific events. There is no recording of antecedents or consequences. The observer records a tally or tick every time a particular observable event or behaviour occurs. 

 

The information gathered through Event Samples will help you to assess what sparks a certain reaction in the child and identify the possible causes or consequences of concerning behaviour and find strategies to manage the behaviour effectively. 

References: 
Event Sampling Observation, Reference
Event Sample, Compliant Learning Resources
Observational Methods, Complex Needs UK

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