Observations Updated Summer 09 Mm 1

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Observations Updated Summer 09 Mm 1

  1. 1. You observe a lot watching . Yogi Berra
  2. 2. 3 primary forms of qualitative data collection <ul><li>Observation </li></ul><ul><li>Interview </li></ul><ul><li>Document & Artifact Review </li></ul>
  3. 3. Value of Observation <ul><li>Because he sees and hears the people he studies in many situations of the kind that normally occur for them, rather than just in an isolated and formal interview, he builds an ever-growing fund of impressions, many of them at the subliminal level, which give him an extensive base for the interpretation and analytic use of any particular datum. This wealth of information and impression sensitizes him to subtleties which might pass unnoticed in an interview and forces him to raise continually new and different questions, which he brings to and tries to answer in succeeding observations . </li></ul><ul><li>Becker & Greer, 1970 </li></ul>
  4. 4. How Observation studies differ <ul><li>1. Whether participants know they are being observed </li></ul><ul><li>2. Length of observation </li></ul><ul><li>3. Status of observer in group </li></ul>
  5. 5. Observer Role <ul><li>Participant Observer </li></ul><ul><li>Transient Observer </li></ul>
  6. 6. Advantages of Doing Observations “being there” <ul><li>Experience the Context </li></ul><ul><li>First hand information </li></ul><ul><li>Discovery oriented, inductive </li></ul><ul><li>See what you didn’t know to ask about in interviews or that was not reported </li></ul><ul><li>Learn things that participants were uncomfortable talking about in interview </li></ul><ul><li>Check & balance of data collection </li></ul>
  7. 7. Limitations of Observation s <ul><li>Bias </li></ul><ul><li>Can’t be in more than one place to observe at a time </li></ul><ul><li>Transient: No time to build trust </li></ul><ul><li>Can misinterpret behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Time consuming, Inefficient </li></ul><ul><li>You can observe but not see . </li></ul><ul><li>Sherlock Holmes </li></ul>
  8. 8. how to prepare for an observation <ul><li>Develop an Observation Guide and Observation Table For Your Group’s Field Study (Due beginning of Class #5) </li></ul><ul><li>A written plan telling What to look at & When to Look (aka instrument, protocol) </li></ul><ul><li>Think about What data would be most useful. That goes in the guide. </li></ul><ul><li>Think about When you would get the best data given your research goals. Build that into the plan. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Sampling <ul><li>Since you can’t observe everything you must make decisions about what you want to observe: </li></ul><ul><li>which people </li></ul><ul><li>which activities </li></ul><ul><li>what time periods? </li></ul><ul><li>This becomes part of the sampling plan. </li></ul><ul><li>What you decide to observe is based on purpose of study. </li></ul>
  10. 10. WHAT TO OBSERVE Jerome T. Murphy, Getting The Facts what to include in observation guide <ul><li>You might look at : </li></ul><ul><li>1. Individual Characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>2. Interactions </li></ul><ul><li>3. Nonverbal behavior </li></ul><ul><li>4. Artifacts </li></ul><ul><li>5. Physical Surroundings </li></ul><ul><li>6. Unobtrusive Measures </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Researcher What about the characteristics of the researcher? <ul><li>Age </li></ul><ul><li>Gender </li></ul><ul><li>Race </li></ul>
  12. 12. FIELDWORK AS TEAMWORK <ul><li>...a husband-and-wife team, or a team in which there is a great discrepancy of age, whether of the same or opposite sex, works better than a team of two men or two women of the same age. Each piece of knowledge that either member of the team acquires speeds up the learning of the other or others. If this is accepted enthusiastically, without rivalry, then any team of whatever composition, but especially one contrasted in sex or age, will be able to do, not twice, but four or five times as much work as one person working alone. </li></ul><ul><li>Margaret Mead, 1970 </li></ul>
  13. 13. Observation Study <ul><li>How do people behave while waiting? </li></ul><ul><li>-to see a therapist </li></ul><ul><li>-to board an airplane </li></ul>
  14. 14. Taking Field Notes 1 <ul><li>The new client was uneasy waiting for her intake interview. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Taking Field Notes 2 <ul><li>At first the client sat very stiffly on the chair next to the receptionist’s desk. She picked up a magazine and let the pages flutter through her fingers very quickly without really looking at any of the pages. She set the magazine down, looked at her watch, pulled her skirt down, and picked up the magazine again. This time she didn’t look at the magazine. She set it back down…She would watch the receptionist out of the corner of her eye, and then look back down at the magazine, and back up at the 2 or 3 other people waiting in the room. Her eyes moved from the people to the magazine to the people to the magazine in rapid succession. She avoided eye contact. When her name was finally called she jumped like she was startled. (from Patton) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Taking Field Notes 1 <ul><li>The client was quite hostile toward the staff person. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Taking Field Notes 2 <ul><li>When the staff member told her that she could not do what she wanted to do, the client began to yell at the staff member, telling her that she couldn’t control her life, that she was nothing but on a “power trip,” that she’d “like to beat the shit out of her,” and that she could just “go to hell.” She shook her fist in her face and stomped out of the room, leaving the staff person standing there with her mouth open, looking amazed. (from Patton) </li></ul>
  18. 18. Taking Field Notes 1 <ul><li>little kids crying </li></ul>
  19. 19. Taking Field Notes 2 <ul><li>A little baby in a carriage is crying. I can’t see the baby but I hear it. At first the mom [I’m assuming it is the mother.] pushed the carriage back and forth a little and makes a shhh noise and hunches over towards the baby a little. After only about 20 seconds of it not making the baby quiet down, she picks up the baby that I’m assuming is a boy by the blue and yellow clothing and the blue baby blanket. She cradles the baby to her shoulder and she rocks back and forth whispering to the baby. Soon the baby quiets down. </li></ul><ul><li>(from BMO) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Doing Fieldwork <ul><li>Aside from getting along in the setting, the fundamental concrete task of the observer is the taking of field notes. Whether or not he performs this task is perhaps the most important determinant of later bringing off a qualitative analysis. Field notes provide the observer’s raison d’etre . If he is not doing them, he might as well not be in the setting. </li></ul><ul><li>-Lofland </li></ul>
  21. 21. Example of Use of Observation in a Case Study What is the Nature of the Relationship Between Neighborhood Organizations and Schools? An Exploratory Multiple Case Study Pam Brown, FAU PhD 2007
  22. 22. The Use of Observation to Enhance Understanding <ul><li>Demographics </li></ul><ul><li>Social groupings </li></ul><ul><li>Hierarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>History </li></ul>Seating arrangements Types of spaces Body language Expressed emotion Documents Photographs Words spoken What Observations
  23. 23. Observation 1 – The Museum To deepen my understanding of African American point of view through: The building The classrooms Artifacts Photographs Exhibits What I found The reality of the size and shape of the buildings and classrooms Photographs of mothers and fathers of case study participants A docent who had actually attended the school A video of original students telling their story Farm implements used by the children
  24. 24. Observation 2 – Meeting between Neighborhood Organization and School Observation Guide Physical: the room, the layout, documents Social: Body language Gesture Facial expression Groupings Emotional: Language Feelings Reactions Connections Findings The school in control Hostility between two groups Charges of racism shared by larger group Emotional denials Attempts to find common ground
  25. 25. OBSERVATION ASSIGNMENT <ul><li>Conduct 30 minute observation. </li></ul><ul><li>The observation should be done in order to gain information for your field study. </li></ul><ul><li>Observation Table and Guide due at the beginning of class #5. </li></ul><ul><li>Observation table and guide must be approved by a professor, PRIOR to conducting the observation. </li></ul>

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