According to Seton Hall University, laboratory observation is a descriptive research method in which participants are under observation in an artificial environment. Researchers watch participants in a laboratory setting to gather data.
According to Montclair State University, in a laboratory observation, there is no manipulation of the variables or random assignment. Thus, it is not a laboratory experiment—researchers simply design an environment to allow interactions to occur. For example, researchers invite groups to a laboratory, and then record and investigate body language between males and females of the group.
In laboratory observation, there are issues of external validity. The artificial laboratory setting creates conditions that do not apply to real world situations.