Observation What is it? You just go out and watch someone work, and write down what they do, right?
Introduction Participant 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 a way 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 discuss observation, particularly participant observation, as a tool for collecting data in qualitative research studies. Aspects of observation discussed herein include various definitions of participant observation, some history of its use, the purposes for which such observation is used, the stances or roles of the observer, and additional information about when, what, and how to observe.
Further information is provided to address keeping field notes and their use in writing up the final story. Participant observation is the process enabling researchers to learn about the activities of the people under study in the natural setting through observing and participating in those activities.
Most anthropologists, he notes, need to maintain a sense of objectivity through distance. He defines participant observation as the process of establishing rapport within a community and learning to act in such a way as to blend into the community so that its members will act naturally, then removing oneself from the setting or community to immerse oneself in the data to understand what is going on and be able to write about it.
He includes more than just observation in the process of being a participant observer; he includes observation, natural conversations, interviews of various sorts, checklists, questionnaires, and unobtrusive methods. FINE, in part, defines "peopled ethnography" as being based on extensive observation in the field, a labor-intensive activity that sometimes lasts for years.
In this description of the observation process, one is expected to become a part of the group being studied to the extent that the members themselves include the observer in the activity and turn to the observer for information about how the group is operating.
He also indicates that it is at this point, when members begin to ask the observer questions about the group and when they begin to include the observer in the "gossip," that it is time to leave the field. 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 Method Participant observation is considered a staple in anthropological studies, especially in ethnographic studies, and has been used as a data collection method for over a century.
During this time, CUSHING learned the language, participated in the customs, was adopted by a pueblo, and was initiated into the priesthood. Because he did not publish extensively about this culture, he was criticized as having gone native, meaning that he had lost his objectivity and, therefore, his ability to write analytically about the culture.
In my own research, I have been hesitant to write about religious ceremonies or other aspects of indigenous culture that I have observed, for example, for fear of relating information that my participants or other community members might feel should not be shared.
When I first began conducting my ethnographic study of the Muscogee culture, I was made aware of several incidents in which researchers were perceived to have taken information they had obtained through interviews or observations and had published their findings without permission of the Creek people or done so without giving proper credit to the participants who had shared their lives with the researchers.
She took a job as a rent collector to interact with the people in buildings and offices and took a job as a seamstress in a sweatshop to better understand their lives. These sociological studies have brought into question the stance or positioning of the observer and generated more creative approaches to lending voice to others in the presentation of the findings of their studies GAITAN, By the s, participant observation was widely used by both anthropologists and sociologists.
The previously noted studies were some of the first to use the process of participant observation to obtain data for understanding various cultures and, as such, are considered to be required reading in anthropology classes. Why Use Observation to Collect Data?
Observation methods are useful to researchers in a variety of ways. They provide researchers with ways to check for nonverbal expression of feelings, determine who interacts with whom, grasp how participants communicate with each other, and check for how much time is spent on various activities SCHMUCK, They suggest that participant observation be used as a way to increase the validity 1 of the study, as observations may help the researcher have a better understanding of the context and phenomenon under study.
Validity is stronger with the use of additional strategies used with observation, such as interviewing, document analysis, or surveys, questionnaires, or other more quantitative methods.Observation is the only job analysis method that allows the job analyst or HR professional to directly obtain the data, whereas other job analysis methods collect data indirectly and in .
Job Analysis: How do I conduct a job analysis to ensure the job description actually matches the duties performed by the employee in the job? If there is more than one person doing the same. Participant observation is conducted by a biased human who serves as the instrument for data collection; the researcher must understand how his/her gender, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and theoretical approach may affect observation, analysis, and interpretation.
The book Business Analysis Techniques: 72 Essential Tools for Success  also recommends an observation technique known as protocol analysis.
In protocol analysis the person being observed essentially provides a running monologue of what they are doing and why they are doing it . Person Analysis. Analysis dealing with potential participants and instructors involved in the process.
Analysis dealing with potential participants and instructors involved in the process. The important questions being answered by this analysis are who will receive the training and their level of existing knowledge on the subject, what is their.
Supermarket Customer Observation and Electronic Data Analysis With Implications for the Marketing Plan by The procedural alternatives involved in implementing observation permit statistical analysis of a high degree (ANOV, Regression, One person completed all observations in.