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 subjects’ behaviors or actions in the context of the specific environment you are observing.
You have three location options to choose from to conduct your direct observation:
• A sporting event (ideally one that you are not interested in – you are there to observe the people, not watch the game!)
• A buffet restaurant
• A karaoke bar/event
Important: Remember that the sole purpose of your visit is to observe, not participate!
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 “data,” 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?
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