Observation essay thesis statement

Instructions for writing up their field notes include having them begin by drawing a map of the setting and providing a description of the participants. By having them record on one side of their paper what information they take in through their senses and on the other side whatever thoughts, feelings, ideas they have about what is happening, they are more likely to begin to see the difference in observed data and their own construction or interpretation of the activity. This exercise also helps them realize the importance of using all of their senses to take in information and the importance of observing both the verbal and the nonverbal behaviors of the situation. Possible settings for observation in this exercise have included sitting inside fast-food restaurants, viewing the playground, observing interactions across parking lots or mall food courts, or viewing interactions at a distance on the subway, for example. []

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To help the researcher know what to observe, DeWALT and DeWALT (2002) suggest that he/she study what is happening and why; sort out the regular from the irregular activities; look for variation to view the event in its entirety from a variety of viewpoints; 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 events may change, with the season, for example, so per []

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Another limitation involved in conducting observations is noted by DeWALT, DeWALT, and WAYLAND (1998). The researcher must determine to what extent he/she will participate in the lives of the participants and whether to intervene in a situation. Another potential limitation they mention is that of researcher bias. They note that, unless ethnographers use other methods than just participant observation, there is likelihood that they will fail to report the negative aspects of the cultural members. They encourage the novice researcher to practice reflexivity at the beginning of one's research to help him/her understand the biases he/she has that may interfere with correct interpretation of what is observed. Researcher bias is one of the aspects of qualitative research that has led to the view that qualitative research is subjective, rather than objective. According to RATNER (2002), some qualitative researchers believe that one cannot be both objective and subjective, while others believe that the two can coexist, that one's subjectivity can facilitate understanding the world of others. He notes that, when one reflects on one's biases, he/she can then recognize those biases that may distort understanding and replace them with those that help him/her to be more objective. In this way, he suggests, the researcher is being respectful of the participants by using a variety of methods to ensure that what he/she thinks is being said, in fact, matches the understanding of the participant. BREUER and ROTH (2003) use a variety of methods for knowledge production, including, for example, positioning or various points of view, different frames of reference, such as special or temporal relativity, perceptual schemata based on experience, and interaction with the social context—understanding that any interaction changes the observed object. Using different approaches to data collection and observation, in particular, leads to richer understanding of the social context and the participants therein. []

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Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 4th May, 2017

Observation Essay I. Teacher Skills I appreciate many of the things that she does in her classroom. In that same observation they were to play rhythms on.

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Several 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 to different people, settings, and bodies of knowledge. 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. []