Total Grade Weight=60 points
Essay is worth 50 points
Discussion Board sharing is worth 10 points
This assignment objective is for you to conduct an observation out in the field in order to experience qualitative research first-hand. You will choose a place to do your observations outside of the school and in the community that is open to the public. Here are some suggestions of locations:
· Grocery store
· Coffee shop
· Outdoor concert
· Baseball game
· Local park or swimming pool
After you have chosen your location, commit yourself to at least 1.5 hours of observation. You may break this time up into two visits if you like, and this may give you a better opportunity to see patterns of behavior emerge. While observing, you will want to take field notes. In order for you to blend in with the environment, you may need to take notes on your phone or tablet. Some researchers soak in everything without any note-taking and then upon leaving the field, immediately write down everything they observed. This is important while observations are fresh in your mind. After you have taken your field notes, wait at least a day or two to see if anything comes back to mind that you did not write down. Now you are ready to write your essay from your field notes. The essay should be at least 2.5 pages in length, typed and double-spaced.
Your ESSAY should have the following sections:
- PLACE- Explain where you went, the name of the coffee shop, the date and time of day and why you selected this particular place.
Methodology: this portion is a very detailed description of how you observed, what did you use to record the observations (pen, paper etc.). How did you ensure that people couldn’t tell you were a researcher? Did you speak to anyone in the place to gather more information?
Observations: Discuss everything about the surroundings, from the people you are observing (i.e. standing, sitting, in chairs, benches, inside or outside) to the plants, the murals, the walls, the odors, the type of people (age, race/ethnicity, social class, languages, alone in groups). What were the people you observed doing? Discuss any interruptions, problems, dilemmas, interferences such as not being able to hear comments being made, other people around you talking. Even list the length of time you observed the group/individual. This has to be precise enough, so that if someone would duplicate your observations, they would follow the same exact procedure. Even the weather needs to be discussed if you are outside observing people.
Findings: What did you find out? Explain in an essay format your conclusions about what you observed. This is the part of the project where you can make some generalizations about the people you observed and your findings. Remember, you are looking to identify patterns of behavior. This may include patterns of behavior or behavior that was specific to gender, age, race, socio-economic status, etc.
Evaluation of method: In this last portion, you evaluate your entire project. What would you do differently? What would you improve, change, duplicate if you had to do this research again? How would you further the research? You can also discuss ideas of other topics that could be studied.
Discussion Board Sharing = 10 points
Once you have completed your observation assignment, you are to submit a one paragraph summary (6-8 sentences at least) of what you did and what some of your findings in the research were. You will also read at least one classmate’s summary and comment on their work for full credit.