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Definition of Naturalistic study

Naturalistic study: A type of study in which the researcher very carefully observes and records some behavior or phenomenon, sometimes over a prolonged period, in its natural setting while interfering as little as possible with the subjects or phenomena.

In medical research, a naturalistic study usually involves observing people as they go about their normal activities. The presence of an observer obviously has an effect as one goes about one's daily activities.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=30957
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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