Deliverable 3: Direct Observation
For this assignment you are tasked with using the qualitative research method direct observation. Direct observation is a research method in which the researcher observes the subject(s) in his or her usual environment without altering that environment. The researcher then takes detailed field notes, which become the data for the study. Typically, you are trying to learn something about your subjectsâ€™ behaviors or actions in the context of the specific environment you are observing.
For this assignment, watch the direct observation:
â€¢ Watch this game and observe like you were sitting at the game. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylU5dBU5dX4)
â€¢ It is okay to make up your on things about the game and the behavior of the fans.
â€¢ Review the Chapters attached
You will be writing about this football game as if you were there at the game and observing it. I am a sdsu student and that was a home game.
Important: Remember that the sole purpose of your visit is to observe, not participate! You should be taking notes the entire time you are there. (For example you shouldnâ€™t conduct your observation at a soccer game you are playing in, or a karaoke bar where you are going out with your friends on a Friday night). You must be intentional that you are there only to observe.
Guidelines for conducting Direct Observation
1. Decide on a location from the list above. Make sure the location is a public place. Invasion of privacy is unacceptable. Please choose from the list of locations you have been given.
2. Set a timeline. You should plan on spending a minimum of one hour, but not longer than two hours observing. Make sure you plan your schedule so that you can do the observation at the most appropriate time given your location. You wouldnâ€™t want to go to the beach on a cold, rainy night when no one is there. You want to be able to observe people!
3. Take notes! The more detailed and factual, the better. You can handwrite your notes while in the field (if this is easier and makes you less conspicuous) but you should type up your notes as soon as you have the opportunity (usually right after leaving the field so the memories are fresh). Your notes can be written in the first person (e.g. I arrived at the restaurant and sat in the far corner of the store at a table that was facing the center of the room. I saw a man with a red hat come in and sit down without ordering anything). Your notes should detail everything you observed related to your research goals, from the seemingly mundane to the more interesting/exciting. It is ok to note what you think is happening (e.g. â€œthe man sat down at the table and seemed angry at the woman who was with himâ€) but you shouldnâ€™t add any of your own judgement into your field notes (e.g. â€œhe had no right to be angry at her, she was just waiting for himâ€).
4. Be aware of your surroundings and be courteous to your subjects. In some situations, people may not notice your presence, but if they ask questions, answer briefly, politely, and honestly. If they seem offended or annoyed, stop asking questions or leave the location. If you interview anyone, you must get their informed consent (you wonâ€™t be doing this, just FYI). If anyone makes you feel threatened or uneasy, leave immediately.
What to submit as Deliverable 3
1. You will submit your detailed field notes from your observation. Be sure to include the location you observed, date of the observation, your arrival time, departure time and all other details of what you observed while you were there.
2. Drawing on your field notes as your â€œdata,â€ answer the following questions: a. What are the norms for behavior in this location? b. What happens when someone deviates from these norms? c. Who typically adhered to the norms? d. Who were the norm-breakers?
3. Finally, consider how YOU played a role in the research process. How did your personal experience, perspective, opinions, or behaviors influence the things you paid attention to, and the way you interpreted your data? How did this “structured” observation differ from “everyday” observation? If you observed in the field, what did it feel like? Were you comfortable or uncomfortable – why? Would you do anything differently next time? What did you learn from the experience?