Observation research method

Research methods › mcleod published ation (watching what people do) would seem to be an obvious method of carrying out research in psychology. However, there are different types of observational methods and distinctions need to be made between:1. Participant addition to the above categories observations can also be either overt/disclosed (the participants know they are being studied) or covert/undisclosed (the research keeps their real identity a secret from the research subjects, acting as a genuine member of the group). General observations, are relatively cheap to carry out and few resources are needed by the researcher. However, they can often be very time consuming and lled lled observations (usually a structured observation) are likely to be carried out in a psychology laboratory. The researcher decides where the observation will take place, at what time, with which participants, in what circumstances and uses a standardised procedure. This method was used by albert bandura to study aggression in children (the bobo doll studies). Observations are usually overt as the researcher explains the research aim to the group, so the participants know they are being observed. Controlled observations are also usually non-participant as the researcher avoids any direct contact with the group, keeping a distance (e. Controlled observations can be easily replicated by other researchers by using the same observation schedule. The data obtained from structured observations is easier and quicker to analyze as it is quantitative (i. Controlled observations are fairly quick to conduct which means that many observations can take place within a short amount of time. Compared with controlled/structured methods it is like the difference between studying wild animals in a zoo and studying them in their natural habitat. With regard to human subjects margaret mead used this method to research the way of life of different tribes living on islands in the south pacific. Because it gives the researcher the opportunity to study the total situation it often suggests avenues of enquiry not thought of before. These observations are often conducted on a micro (small) scale and may lack a representative sample (biased in relation to age, gender, social class or ethnicity). This makes it difficult for another researcher to repeat the study in exactly the same way. A further disadvantage is that the researcher needs to be trained to be able to recognise aspects of a situation that are psychologically significant and worth further attention. With observations we do not have manipulations of variables (or control over extraneous variables) which means cause and effect relationships cannot be ipant ipant observation is a variant of the above (natural observations) but here the researcher joins in and becomes part of the group they are studying to get a deeper insight into their lives. If it were research on animals we would now not only be studying them in their natural habitat but be living alongside them as well! He joined the cult and studied how they reacted when the prophecy did not come ipant observations can be either cover or overt.

The researcher's real identity and purpose are kept concealed from the group being researcher takes a false identity and role, usually posing as a genuine member of the group. On the other hand, overt is where the researcher reveals his or her true identity and purpose to the group and asks permission to observe. For example, with covert observations researchers can’t take notes openly as this would blow their cover. Thus reducing the validity of their all observation studies an important decision the researcher has to make is how to classify and record the data. The observer decides in advance that observation will take place only during specified time periods (e. The observer decides in advance the pre-selected moments when observation will take place and records what is happening at that instant. Researchers use all of their senses to examine people in natural settings or naturally occurring ation of a field setting involves:Prolonged engagement in a setting or social y expressed, self-conscious notations of how observing is ical and tactical improvisation in order to develop a full understanding of the setting of ing attention in ways that is in some sense 'standardized'. This distinction is ipant observation "combines participation in the lives of the people being studied with maintenance of a professional distance that allows adequate observation and recording of data" (fetterman, 1998, pp. Observation underscores the person's role as participant in the social setting he or she observes. The range of roles one may play as a participant observer have been describe by gold (1958), adler and adler (1984) and d (1998) suggests that participant observation must be learned in the field. Click here for a more developed discussion of the distinction between observation and participant observation see savage (2000) and for a discussion of participant observation as a methodology see jorgensen (1989). Some of these reasons include:When the nature of the research question to be answered is focused on answering a how- or what-type the topic is relatively unexplored and little is known to explain the behavior of people in a particular understanding the meaning of a setting in a detailed way is it is important to study a phenomenon in its natural self-report data (asking people what they do) is likely to be different from actual behavior (what people actually do). One example of this seen in the difference between self-reported versus observed preventive service delivery in health care implementing an intervention in a natural setting, observation may be used in conjunction with other quantitative data collection techniques. Observational data can help researchers evaluate the fidelity of an intervention across settings and identify when 'stasis' has been -participant -participant observation is observation with limited interaction with the people one observes. Non-participant observation involving the use of recording devices might be a good  data collection approach results in a detailed recording of the communication and provides the researcher with access to the contours of talk (e. Even a great observer cannot record these aspects in -participant observation may provide limited insight into the meaning of the social context studied. These two data collection techniques can complement each other and be used ing by video or audio people are to be observed in a closed setting, the researcher is not a participant observer, and tape- or video-recording is permissable then this data recording approach may be appropriate (e. There are, however, a few things to keep in mind:Decisions regarding how to record observational data depend largely on the focus of the research question and the analytical approach the researcher is trying to understand how people behave together and the people in question can see each other, then the use of video may be recommended. Additionally, capturing the details of this behavior in fieldnotes will be -recording a telephone counseling session makes sense because the two interactants (and the researcher) only have access to verbal and video recordings afford the researcher the opportunity to transcribe what occurs in a setting and play it over and over. This can be very useful in the analysis ipant observers may use multiple methods to gather data. There are several guides for learning how to prepare chers may be interested in creating or using a template to guide a researchers' tes or observational coding sheets can be useful when data is collected by inexperienced tes or observational coding sheets should only be developed after observation in the field that is not inhibited by such a es and concepts can be driven by templates and result in focused data tes can deflect attention from unnamed categories, unimagined and unanticipated activities that can be very important to understanding a phenomenon and a ion and prolonged involvement in a setting can lead to the development of rapport and foster free and open speaking with ation fosters an in depth and rich understanding of a phenomenon, situation and/or setting and the behavior of the participants in that ation is an essential part of gaining an understanding of naturalistic settings and its members' ways of ation can provide the foundation for theory and hypothesis , pa and adler, p.

In structured or systematic observation data collection is conducted using specific variables and according to a pre-defined schedule. Unstructured observation, on the other hand, is conducted in an open and free manner in a sense that there would be no pre-determined variables or ages of observation primary data collection method include direct access to research phenomena, high levels of flexibility in terms of application and generating a permanent record of phenomena to be referred to later if a need arises. At the same time, observation method is disadvantaged with longer time requirements, high levels of observer bias, and impact of observer on primary data, in a way that presence of observe may influence the behavior of sample group is important to note that observation data collection method may be associated with certain ethical issues. As it is discussed further below in greater details, fully informed consent of research participant(s) is one of the basic ethical considerations to be adhered to by researchers. At the same time, the behavior of sample group members may change with negative implications on the level of research validity if they are notified about the presence of the delicate situation needs to be addressed by consulting with dissertation supervisor, and commencing observation primary data collection process only after ethical aspects of the issue have been approved by the e-book, the ultimate guide to writing a dissertation in business studies: a step by step assistance offers practical assistance to complete a dissertation with minimum or no stress. The e-book covers all stages of writing a dissertation starting from the selection of the research area to submitting the completed version of the work before the y profiles & analysis (97). 43 – may ipant observation as a data collection ct: observation, particularly participant observation, has been used in a variety of disciplines as a tool for about people, processes, and cultures in qualitative research. This paper provides a look at various definitions ipant observation, the history of its use, the purposes for which it is used, the stances of the observer, and when,What, and how to observe. Information on keeping field notes and writing them up is also discussed, along with some teaching observation techniques to words: participant observation, qualitative research methods, field notes. Teaching participant ipant observation, for many years, has been a hallmark of both anthropological and sociological studies. In recent years,The field of education has seen an increase in the number of qualitative studies that include participant observation as to collect information. Qualitative methods of data collection, such as interviewing, observation, and document analysis,Have been included under the umbrella term of "ethnographic methods" in recent years. The purpose of this paper is to ation, particularly participant observation, as a tool for collecting data in qualitative research studies. Observation discussed herein include various definitions of participant observation, some history of its use, the which such observation is used, the stances or roles of the observer, and additional information about when, what, to observe. Further information is provided to address keeping field notes and their use in writing up the final ll and rossman (1989) define observation as "the systematic description of events, behaviors, and artifacts in the g chosen for study" (p. Observations enable the researcher to describe existing situations using the five senses,Providing a "written photograph" of the situation under study (erlandson, harris, skipper, & allen, 1993). Participant observation is the process enabling researchers to learn about the the people under study in the natural setting through observing and participating in those activities. 1999) define participant observation as "the process of learning through exposure to or involvement in the day-to-day e activities of participants in the researcher setting" (p. 1994) adds to this understanding, indicating that participant observation requires a certain amount of impression management. He ipant observation as the process of establishing rapport within a community and learning to act in such a way as into the community so that its members will act naturally, then removing oneself from the setting or community to f in the data to understand what is going on and be able to write about it. He includes more than just observation process of being a participant observer; he includes observation, natural conversations, interviews of various sorts,Checklists, questionnaires, and unobtrusive methods.

Participant observation is characterized by such actions as having , nonjudgmental attitude, being interested in learning more about others, being aware of the propensity for feeling and for making mistakes, the majority of which can be overcome, being a careful observer and a good listener, and to the unexpected in what is learned (dewalt & dewalt, 1998). 2003) uses the term "peopled ethnography" to describe text that provides an understanding of the setting and that tical implications through the use of vignettes, based on field notes from observations, interviews, and products group members. Fine, in part, defines "peopled ethnography" as on extensive observation in the field, a labor-intensive activity that sometimes lasts for years. In this the observation process, one is expected to become a part of the group being studied to the extent that the members e the observer in the activity and turn to the observer for information about how the group is operating. This process he describes of becoming a part of the community,While observing their behaviors and activities, is called participant observation. The history of participant observation as a ipant observation is considered a staple in anthropological studies, especially in ethnographic studies, and has as a data collection method for over a century. My own experience conducting research in indigenous communities,Which began about ten years ago with my own ethnographic doctoral dissertation on muscogee (creek) women's perceptions (kawulich, 1998) and has continued in the years since (i. In my own research, i have been hesitant to write about religious ceremonies or other aspects of indigenous i have observed, for example, for fear of relating information that my participants or other community members should not be shared. When i first began conducting my ethnographic study of the muscogee culture, i was made aware l incidents in which researchers were perceived to have taken information they had obtained through interviews or had published their findings without permission of the creek people or done so without giving proper credit to the had shared their lives with the researchers. Then, in the early 1920s, malinowski studied and wrote participation and observation of the trobriands, a study bernard (1998) calls one of the most cited early anthropological data collection methods. 1983, as cited in dewalt & dewalt, 2002) divided participant observation as an ethnographic method of data three phases: participation, observation, and interrogation, pointing out that malinowski and mead both emphasized of observation and interrogation, but not participation. They provide researchers with ways to check for sion of feelings, determine who interacts with whom, grasp how participants communicate with each other, and check much time is spent on various activities (schmuck, 1997). Participant observation allows researchers to check terms that participants use in interviews, observe events that informants may be unable or unwilling to share when would be impolitic, impolite, or insensitive, and observe situations informants have described in interviews, thereby aware of distortions or inaccuracies in description provided by those informants (marshall & rossman, 1995). And dewalt (2002) believe that "the goal for design of research using participant observation as a method is to develop. Holistic understanding of the phenomena under study that is as objective and accurate as possible given the the method" (p. They suggest that participant observation be used as a way to increase the validity1) of the study, as observations may help the researcher have a better understanding of the context and phenomenon under ty is stronger with the use of additional strategies used with observation, such as interviewing, document analysis,Or surveys, questionnaires, or other more quantitative methods. Participant observation can be used to help answer ch questions, to build theory, or to generate or test hypotheses (dewalt & dewalt, 2002). Designing a research study and determining whether to use observation as a data collection method, one must types of questions guiding the study, the site under study, what opportunities are available at the site for observation,The representativeness of the participants of the population at that site, and the strategies to be used to record and data (dewalt & dewalt, 2002). Schensul, schensul, and lecompte (1999) list the s for using participant observation in research:To identify and guide relationships with informants;. Help the researcher get the feel for how things are organized and prioritized, how people interrelate, and what are show the researcher what the cultural members deem to be important in manners, leadership, politics, social interaction,To help the researcher become known to the cultural members, thereby easing facilitation of the research process; provide the researcher with a source of questions to be addressed with participants (p. 1994) lists five reasons for including participant observation in cultural studies, all of which increase the study' makes it possible to collect different types of data.

Being on site over a period of time familiarizes the researcher community, thereby facilitating involvement in sensitive activities to which he/she generally would not be reduces the incidence of "reactivity" or people acting in a certain way when they are aware of being helps the researcher to develop questions that make sense in the native language or are culturally gives the researcher a better understanding of what is happening in the culture and lends credence to one's the observation. Participant observation also enables the researcher to collect both quantitative and qualitative h surveys and is sometimes the only way to collect the right data for one's study (pp. Advantages and disadvantages of using participant k and sobo (1998) provide several advantages of using participant observation over other methods of data include that it affords access to the "backstage culture" (p. And sobo also share several disadvantages of using participation as a method, including that sometimes the not be interested in what happens out of the public eye and that one must rely on the use of key informants. The mead-freeman2) controversy illustrates how different researchers gain different understanding of what they observe, based on the key informant(s). That the information collected by anthropologists is not representative of the culture, as much of the data these researchers is observed based on the researcher's individual interest in a setting or behavior, rather than entative of what actually happens in a culture. To alleviate this problem, they advocate the use of systematic observation procedures to us techniques for sampling and recording behavior that keep researchers from neglecting certain aspects of definition of structured observation directs who is observed, when and where they are observed, what is observed, the observations are recorded, providing a more quantitative observation than participant observation. 1 limitations of l researchers have noted the limitations involved with using observations as a tool for data collection. For example,Dewalt and dewalt (2002) note that male and female researchers have access to different information, as they have access ent people, settings, and bodies of knowledge. Participant observation is conducted by a biased human who serves instrument for data collection; the researcher must understand how his/her gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and ch may affect observation, analysis, and interpretation. Schensul, and lecompte (1999) refer to participation as meaning almost total immersion in an unfamiliar study others' lives through the researcher's participation as a full-time resident or member, though they point out observers are not full participants in community life. Some of the reasons they mention for a researcher's included in activities include a lack of trust, the community's discomfort with having an outsider there, to either the community or the researcher, and the community's lack of funds to further support the researcher in ch. Some of the ways the researcher might be excluded include the community members' use of a language that is the researcher, their changing from one language to another that is not understood by the researcher, their changing t when the researcher arrives, their refusal to answer certain questions, their moving away from the researcher to of ear shot, or their failure to invite the researcher to social events. Schensul, and lecompte further point out that all researchers should expect to experience a feeling of having ed at some point in the research process, particularly in the beginning. The important thing, they note, is for cher to recognize what that exclusion means to the research process and that, after the researcher has been in the a while, the community is likely to have accepted the researcher to some degree. The researcher ine to what extent he/she will participate in the lives of the participants and whether to intervene in a r potential limitation they mention is that of researcher bias. They note that, unless ethnographers use other just participant observation, there is likelihood that they will fail to report the negative aspects of the s. They encourage the novice researcher to practice reflexivity at the beginning of one's research to help him/her biases he/she has that may interfere with correct interpretation of what is observed. Researcher bias is one of the qualitative research that has led to the view that qualitative research is subjective, rather than objective. Ratner (2002), some qualitative researchers believe that one cannot be both objective and subjective, while others the two can coexist, that one's subjectivity can facilitate understanding the world of others. In this way, he suggests, the researcher is being respectful of the participants a variety of methods to ensure that what he/she thinks is being said, in fact, matches the understanding of the and roth (2003) use a variety of methods for knowledge production, including, for example, positioning or various view, different frames of reference, such as special or temporal relativity, perceptual schemata based on experience, ction with the social context—understanding that any interaction changes the observed object.

Using different data collection and observation, in particular, leads to richer understanding of the social context and the ul, schensul, and lecompte (1999) also suggest that observation is filtered through one's interpretive frames and that. The most accurate observations are shaped by formative theoretical frameworks and scrupulous attention to detail" (p. Quality of the participant observation depends upon the skill of the researcher to observe, document, and interpret been observed. It is important in the early stages of the research process for the researcher to make accurate notes without imposing preconceived categories from the researcher's theoretical perspective, but allow them to the community under study (see section 10). The stances of the degree to which the researcher involves himself/herself in participation in the culture under study makes a the quality and amount of data he/she will be able to collect. Gold (1958) has provided a description of observer extend buford junker's explanation of four theoretical stances for researchers conducting field observations. Gold four observation stances as follows:At one extreme is the complete participant, who is a member of the group being studied and who conceals his/her researcher role from the group to avoid disrupting ty. The disadvantages of this stance are that the researcher may lack objectivity, the group members may feel the researcher when the research role is revealed, and the ethics of the situation are questionable, since the group the participant as observer stance, the researcher is a member of the group being studied, and the group is aware of the research activity. In this stance,The researcher is a participant in the group who is observing others and who is interested more in observing than in participating,As his/her participation is a given, since he/she is a member of the group. This role also has disadvantages, in that a trade off between the depth of the data revealed to the researcher and the level of confidentiality provided to the the information they observer as participant stance enables the researcher to participate in the group activities as desired, yet the main role of the researcher in is to collect data, and the group being studied is aware of the researcher's observation activities. In this stance,The researcher is an observer who is not a member of the group and who is interested in participating as a means for observation and, hence, generating more complete understanding of the group's activities. Merriam (1998) points , while the researcher may have access to many different people in this situation from whom he/she may obtain information,The group members control the level of information given. Note, this "peripheral " enables the researcher to "observe and interact closely enough with members to establish an insider's identity ipating in those activities constituting the core of group membership. Opposite extreme stance from the complete participant is the complete observer, in which the researcher is completely hidden from view while observing or when the researcher is in plain sight in a g, yet the public being studied is unaware of being observed. These four stances, the role providing the most ethical approach to observation is that of the observer as participant,As the researcher's observation activities are known to the group being studied, yet the emphasis for the researcher is ting data, rather than participating in the activity being observed. Because the researcher the setting under study, but not to the extent that he/she becomes too absorbed to observe and analyze what is question frequently is asked, should the researcher be concerned about his/her role of participant observer situation. Merriam (1998) suggests that the question is not whether the process of observing affects the situation participants, but how the researcher accounts for those effects in explaining the data. Participant observation is ult than simply observing without participation in the activity of the setting, since it usually requires that the be jotted down at a later time, after the activity has concluded. And dewalt provide an alternative view of the roles the participant observer may take, by comparing the various observation through membership roles described by both spradley (1980, pp. Spradley various roles that observers may take, ranging in degree of participation from non-participation (activities are outside the research setting) to passive participation (activities are observed in the setting but without activities) to moderate participation (activities are observed in the setting with almost complete participation in activities). Adler and rly describe the range of membership roles to include peripheral membership, active membership, and full serving in a peripheral membership role observe in the setting but do not participate in activities, while active denote the researcher's participation in certain or all activities, and full membership is reflected by fully the culture.

The degree to which the researcher may participate may be determined by the researcher or by the community. Factors that may affect the degree to which one may participate in the culture include the researcher's age, gender,Class, and ethnicity. The key point is that researchers should be aware of the compromises in access, objectivity, and community expectation being made at any particular place along the continuum. Further, in the writing of ethnography, the particular place researcher on this continuum should be made clear" (dewalt & dewalt, 2002 p. 1998) suggests that the most important factor in determining what a researcher should observe is the researcher'e for conducting the study in the first place. Where to begin looking depends on the research question, but where or stop action cannot be determined ahead of time" (merriam, 1998, p. Help the researcher know what to observe, dewalt and dewalt (2002) suggest that he/she study what is happening and why;. Out the regular from the irregular activities; look for variation to view the event in its entirety from a variety ints; look for the negative cases or exceptions; and, when behaviors exemplify the theoretical purposes for the observation,Seek similar opportunities for observation and plan systematic observations of those events/behaviors. Over time, such change, with the season, for example, so persistent observation of activities or events that one has already observed may be necessary. 1979) notes that, while there is no one way that is best for conducting research using participant observation, effective work is done by researchers who view informants as collaborators; to do otherwise, he adds, is a waste of ces. His emphasis is on the relationship between the researcher and informants as collaborative researchers who, ng solid relationships, improve the research process and improve the skills of the researcher to conduct research. Observations involves a variety of activities and considerations for the researcher, which include ethics, t, selecting key informants, the processes for conducting observations, deciding what and when to observe, notes, and writing up one's findings. Primary consideration in any research study is to conduct the research in an ethical manner, letting the community one's purpose for observing is to document their activities. While there may be instances where covert observation be appropriate, these situations are few and are suspect. Dewalt, dewalt, and wayland (1998) advise the researcher some of the field notes publicly to reinforce that what the researcher is doing is collecting data for research the researcher meets community members for the first time, he/she should be sure to inform them of the purpose for , sharing sufficient information with them about the research topic that their questions about the research and the researcher'ce there are put to rest. Dewalt, and wayland also point out that there is an ethical concern regarding the relationships established by cher when conducting participant observation; the researcher needs to develop close relationships, yet those difficult to maintain, when the researcher returns to his/her home at a distant location. It is typical for spend an extended period of time in a community to establish friendships or other relationships, some of which may a lifetime; others are transient and extend only for the duration of the research study. Particularly when -cultural research, it is necessary to have an understanding of cultural norms that exist. They suggest that the researcher take a participatory approach to research by including s in the research process, beginning with obtaining culturally appropriate permission to conduct research and the research addresses issues of importance to the community. They further suggest that the research findings be the community to ensure accuracy of findings. In my own ongoing research projects with the muscogee (creek) people, maintained relationships with many of the people, including tribal leaders, tribal administrators, and council members,And have shared the findings with selected tribal members to check my findings.

I, too, have found that, by taking a participatory approach to my research with them, i have been participate in studies that they wish to have conducted. Assist in gaining permission from the community to conduct the study, the researcher may bring letters of other information that will ease entry, such as information about one's affiliation, funding sources, and planned time in the field. Should use personal contacts to ease entry; these would include key informants who serve as gatekeepers, but bernard t choosing a gatekeeper who represents one side of warring factions, as the researcher may be seen as affiliated faction. He also cautions that, when using highly placed individuals as gatekeepers, the researcher may be expected as a spy. Agar (1980) suggests that the researcher be wary of accepting the first people he/she encounters in the g as key informants, as they may be "deviants" or "professional stranger handlers. The former may be people who the fringe of the culture, and association with them may provide the researcher with erroneous views of the culture alienate the researcher from others who might better inform the study. The "professional stranger handlers" are who take upon themselves the job of finding out what it is the researcher is after and how it may affect the the culture. Agar suggests finding a key informant to sponsor the researcher to facilitate his/her meeting those can provide the needed information. These key informants must be people who are respected by other cultural members are viewed to be neutral, to enable the researcher to meet informants in all of the various factions found in the researcher also should become familiar with the setting and social organization of the culture. This may involve the setting or developing social networks to help the researcher understand the situation. These activities also are enabling the researcher to know what to observe and from whom to gather information. Hanging out" is the process through which the researcher gains trust and establishes rapport with participants (bernard,1994). The first stage is the which the researcher is a stranger who is learning the social rules and language, making herself/himself known to ity, so they will begin to teach her/him how to behave appropriately in that culture. During , the language becomes more familiar to the researcher, but he/she still may not be fluent in its use. The third mention is called the "intimate" stage, during which the researcher has established relationships with cultural the extent that he/she no longer has to think about what he/she says, but is as comfortable with the interaction as ipants are with her/him being there. It sometimes researcher's working with and participating in everyday activities beside participants in their daily lives. Included in this fieldwork is persistent observation and oning to gain clarification of meaning of activities. Is built over time; it involves establishing a trusting relationship with the community, so that the cultural secure in sharing sensitive information with the researcher to the extent that they feel assured that the ed and reported will be presented accurately and dependably. Rapport is also the issue of reciprocity, the giving back of something in return for their sharing their lives with the researcher. Al members are sharing information with the researcher, making him/her welcome in the community, inviting him/her ipate in and report on their activities. The researcher has the responsibility for giving something back, whether monetary remuneration, gifts or material goods, physical labor, time, or research results.

Learning to speak the language shows that the researcher has a vested interest community, that the interest is not transient, and helps the researcher to understand the nuances of conversation, constitutes humor. Mentioned in the discussion of the limitations of observation, bernard suggests that gender affects one's ability to n information and how one views others. Also was told by the funding source that i should not request additional funds for research, if the results would not be. Werner and schoepfle (1987, as cited in angrosino & deperez, 2000) the process of conducting observations and describe three types of processes:The first is descriptive observation, in which one observes anything and everything, assuming that he/she knows nothing; the disadvantage of this type is can lead to the collection of minutiae that may or may not be relevant to the second type, focused observation, emphasizes observation supported by interviews, in which the participants' insights guide the researcher's decisions third type of observation, considered by angrosino and deperez to be the most systematic, is selective observation, in which the researcher focuses on different types of activities to help delineate the differences in those activities (angrosino. For example, merriam (1988) observation guide in which she compiled various elements to be recorded in field notes. She also looks at the frequency and duration of those activities/interactions and other subtle factors, such as informal,Unplanned activities, symbolic meanings, nonverbal communication, physical clues, and what should happen that has not her 1998 book, merriam adds such elements as observing the conversation in terms of content, who speaks to whom, who listens,Silences, the researcher's own behavior and how that role affects those one is observing, and what one says or thinks. Conduct participant observation, one must live in the context to facilitate prolonged engagement; prolonged engagement is one of the activities listed by lincoln and guba (1994) to establish trustworthiness. The considered to be more trustworthy, when the researcher can show that he/she spent a considerable amount of time in g, as this prolonged interaction with the community enables the researcher to have more opportunities to observe ipate in a variety of activities over time. The reader would not view the findings as credible, if the researcher a week in the culture; however, he/she would be more assured that the findings are accurate, if the researcher the culture for an extended time or visited the culture repeatedly over time. Through these activities, the researcher has access to community can explain the meaning that such activities hold for them as individuals and can use conversations to elicit data of more formal interviews. Dewalt and dewalt extend this list of , adding mead's suggested activities, which include developing tolerance to poor conditions and unpleasant situations,Resisting impulsiveness, particularly interrupting others, and resisting attachment to particular factions or ino and deperez (2000) advocate using a structured observation process to maximize the efficiency of the field experience,Minimize researcher bias, and facilitate replication or verification by others, all of which make the findings more objectivity, they explain, occurs when there is agreement between the researcher and the participants as to what on. Sociologists, they note, typically use document analysis to check their results, while anthropologists tend their findings through participant observation. 1994) states that most basic anthropological research is conducted over a period of about a year, but recently been participant observations that were conducted in a matter of weeks. This instance the cultural members are taken into the researcher's confidence as research partners to enable him/her the questions answered. And his associates developed an outline of the stages of participant observation fieldwork that includes initial contact;. In ch, it is common for the researcher to live in the culture under study for extended periods of time and to return short breaks, then return to the research setting for more data collection. When the researcher encounters a culture different from his/her own and lives in that culture, constantly being bombarded by new stimuli, culture shock chers react differently to such shock. Sometimes the researcher needs to take a break from the constant observation and to recuperate. Aspects of conducting observations are discussed above, but these are not the only ways to conduct observations. Different approach to observation, consensus analysis, is a method demunck and sobo describe to design sampling frames for ethnographic research, enabling the researcher to viewpoints of the participants from the inside out. It further involves ation gathered to determine if the researcher correctly understood the information collected.

The question of has understood correctly lends itself to the internal validity question of whether the researcher has correctly participants. To help determine ences, the researcher should ask the participants if they know people who have a different experience or opinion topic. Seeking out participants with different points of view enables the researcher to fully flesh out the topic in that culture. Tips for collecting useful observation and bogdan (1984) provided several tips for conducting observations after one has gained entry into the setting . 1998) adds that the researcher should:Pay attention, shifting from a "wide" to a "narrow" angle perspective, focusing on a single person, activity, interaction,Then returning to a view of the overall situation;. One should take note of what he/she is observing, what is being the field notes and in how much detail, and what one is noting about the researcher's personal experience in research. The process of note taking is not complete until one has reviewed his/her notes to make sure that he/she ng the analysis with observations throughout the process to keep the researcher on researcher should review constantly what he/she is looking for and whether he/she is seeing it or is likely to do so circumstances for observation presented. Notes that one must become explicitly aware, being attentive in his/her observations, reporting what is seen, ed. It is natural to impose on a situation what is culturally correct, in the absence of real memories, but capacity can be enhanced by practicing reliable observation. Bernard advises that the researcher not talk to anyone after observing, until he/she has written down his/ notes. He also suggests that the researcher maintain naiveté, assuming an attitude of being guided by participants' teaching without being considered stupid, incompetent, or dangerous to their mes, he points out, one's expertise is what helps to establish rapport. Having good writing skills, that is, ely and compellingly, is also necessary to good participant observation. The researcher must learn to 'hang out' him/her to ask questions when appropriate and to ask appropriate questions. The researcher should draw a physical map of the setting, using as much detail as possible. Ts that the researcher visit the setting under study at different times of the day to see how it is used different times of the day/night. Indicate that counting, census taking, and mapping are important ways to help the researcher gain a better the social setting in the early stages of participation, particularly when the researcher is not fluent in the has few key informants in the community. Notes are the primary way of capturing the data that is collected from participant observations. Notes taken to data include records of what is observed, including informal conversations with participants, records of activities nies, during which the researcher is unable to question participants about their activities, and journal notes kept on a daily basis. Dewalt, dewalt, and wayland describe field notes as both data and analysis, as the notes accurate description of what is observed and are the product of the observation process. And sobo (1998) advocate using two notebooks for keeping field notes, one with questions to be answered, the more personal observations that may not fit the topics covered in the first notebook. Field notes in the first notebook should include jottings, maps, diagrams,Interview notes, and observations.

Coding their observation notes, demunck and sobo (1998) suggest that coding is used to select and emphasize is important enough to record, enabling the researcher to weed out extraneous information and focus his/her the type of information needed for the study. States that, when one is trying to analyze interview information and observation field notes, he/she is trying p a model that helps to make sense of what the participants do. One is constructing a model of culture, not truth about the data, as there are numerous truths, particularly when presented from each individual participant's researcher should set out an outline of the information he/she has, organize the information according to the outline,Then move the points around as the argument of one's study dictates. Writing up one's description of a ritual, kutsche advises the researcher to make a short draft of the ritual and specific aspects to focus on and write up in detail with one's analysis. When writing up one's ethnographic observations, kutsche advises that the the lead of spradley and mccurdy (1972) and find a cultural scene, spend time with the informants, asking clarifying answers, analyze the material, pulling together the themes into a well-organized story. This means that there will be a bit of postmodern ation told in the etic or researcher's voice (pike, 1966), along with the participants' voices which provide the ctive (pike, 1966). Autoethnography, in recent years, has become an accepted means for illustrating the knowledge researchers from their own perspective, incorporating their own feelings and emotions into the mix, as is illustrated n ellis (i. Teaching participant hout the past eight or so years of teaching qualitative research courses, i have developed a variety of exercises ng observation skills, based on techniques i observed from other researchers and teachers of qualitative research ques described in others' syllabi. Over time, i have revised others' exercises and created my own to address the my students in learning how to conduct qualitative research. Possible settings for observation in this exercise have included sitting -food restaurants, viewing the playground, observing interactions across parking lots or mall food courts, or ctions at a distance on the subway, for example. Observation—this exercise encourages students to use photographs to help them remember activities, and photographs can serve as aspects of activities that are not easily described. Observation—in this instance, students are asked to find a setting they wish to observe in which they will be able to observe uption and in which they will not be participating. For some specified length of time (about 15 to 30 minutes), asked to record everything they can take in through their senses about that setting and the interactions contained the duration of the time period, again recording on one side of the paper their field notes from observation and on side their thoughts, feelings, and ideas about what is happening. Part of the lesson here is that, when recording aspects of the observation, whether it be the physical characteristics of the setting or interactions ipants, they are unable to both observe and record. Observation—students are asked to participate in some activity that takes at least 2 hours, during which they are not allowed to notes. Students are cautioned not to talk to anyone or drink too much, so their recollections will be lesson here is that they must consciously try to remember bits of conversation and other details in chronological comparing their field notes from direct observation to participant observation, the students may find that their direct observation (without participation) are more detailed and lengthy than with participant observation; however,Through participation, there is more involvement in the activities under study, so there is likely to be better what happened and why. They also may find that participant observation lends itself better to recollecting a later time than direct observation. Observation involves the researcher's involvement in a variety of activities over an extended period of time him/her to observe the cultural members in their daily lives and to participate in their activities to facilitate understanding of those behaviors and activities. Participant observation is used as a mainstay in field work in a variety of disciplines, and, as such,Has proven to be a beneficial tool for producing studies that provide accurate representation of a culture. This paper, wholly inclusive of all that has been written about this type of field work methods, presents an overview of what is it, including its various definitions, history, and purposes, the stances of the researcher, and information about conduct observations in the field. Validity is a term typically associated with quantitative research; however, when viewed in terms of its meaning of is purported to be measured/observed, its use is appropriate.

Kawulich teaches research methods at the university of west georgia in carrollton, georgia (usa), in the college of education. Her personal research interest involve issues affecting american indian women, specifically muscogee (creek) sity of west georgiaeducational leadership and professional studies department1601 maple street, room 153, education annexcarrollton, ga 30118, usa. 2017 forum qualitative sozialforschung / forum: qualitative social research (issn 1438-5627) supported by the institute for qualitative research and the center for digital systems, freie universität 6, no.