unit of observation

(noun) What is described by research data.

Example: The entire country is the unit of observation for the United States census that happens every ten years (decennially).

Audio Pronunciation: (u·nit of ob·ser·va·tion)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: units of observation
  • Not to be confused with a unit of analysis which is who or what is studied during research. Using the example above, in the United States census the country is the unit of observation but each individual is the unit of analysis.

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