Acquire theoretical and practical knowledge related to observation as a technique for detecting infant behavior, with particular reference to: characteristics, theoretical perspective, types of observation, validity and reliability, techniques (narrative descriptions, coding systems, evaluation scales, questionnaires and interviews, qsort), tools for observing cognitive, communicative and linguistic, social and relational, emotional development. Furthermore, starting from this knowledge, develop the skills required for the use of observation of child behavior in educational contexts.

By the study of Observational method in developmental psychology the student will be able to achieve the following training objectives.

- Knowledge and understanding:
Knowledge of method, techniques, tools for the psychological observation of children behaviors.

- Applying knowledge and understanding:
Capacity to apply the method and techniques for the psychological observation of children behaviors.

- Making judgements:
Ability to recognize the techniques used in specific situation and assess the appropriateness of the observation procedures used.

- Communication skills:
Master the specific language of observational methods.

- Learning skills:
Attitude to life-long learning on the observational methods apply in psychology.
teacher profile | teaching materials


The course related to the observation as a systematic technique for gathering information on child behavior. It includes the history of this methodology in developmental psychology; the different types of observation; the characteristics of the different observational strategies; the validity and the reliability; the practical planning of observation. To allow student's acquisition of the skills necessary to use observation, different tools will be presented relating to different aspects of child development (cognitive, communicative and linguistic, social and relational, etc.).

Course topics:
Method and theory of observation
• Myths and reality about observation
• Observation as a way to collect information
• Different types of observation
Observation in practice
• Observer quality
• Validity of the observation
• Data recording techniques
Observational tools
• Cognitive development
• Communication and linguistic development
• Social and interpersonal development
• Emotional development

Core Documentation

Aureli T., Perucchini P., Osservare e valutare il comportamento del bambino, il Mulino, Bologna 2014
D’Odorico e Cassibba, Osservare per educare, Carocci
To do exercises use the book by Cassibba e Salerni, Osservare i bambini: Tecniche ed esercizi, Carocci.

The book by Aureli T., Perucchini P., "Observing and evaluating the child's behavior", editor il Mulino, Bologna 2014, provides online material accessible on the www.pandoracampus.it platform. By buying the printed volume, you can access the edition on Pandoracampus for 6 months using the code on the second cover page.
It is also possible to purchase online only the entire book or a selection of chapters directly on the platform.

Type of delivery of the course

The Laboratory includes lectures and exercises, both in groups and individually, in the presence and at a distance. A dedicated space is available on the formonline platform, in which the student can find the material presented in class, and communications about the course and the exam. In case of social distancing due to the pandemic, the activities will take place using Formonline and lessons online and recorded in streaming on Teams.

Type of evaluation

The exam consists of an oral interview. Following the adoption of the legislation on social distancing and the fight against COVID-19, as per DR n. 703, the exams take place at a distance. More detailed information on the Formonline platform.