Observational Research Paper

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It provides the context for development of sampling guidelines and interview guides (De WALT & De WALT, 2002).

SCHENSUL, SCHENSUL, and Le COMPTE (1999) define participant observation as "the process of learning through exposure to or involvement in the day-to-day or routine activities of participants in the researcher setting" (p.91).

product manager and researcher) helps identify areas of agreement and disagreement and makes your observational data more trustworthy and reliable.

Keep these caveats in mind as you chose a role for an observational research project.

There are four types of observational research you can do, ranging from detached observation with no participation on your part (complete observer) to immersing yourself completely in the environment (complete participant).

Which you choose depends on your goals, timeframe, and properly balancing the ethical considerations.While it may seem like observation is as simple and uniform as watching and taking notes, there are some subtle differences that can affect the type of data you collect.The role the observer plays forms a continuum from completely removed to completely engaged with the participant.With this research, you can understand how people naturally interact with products and people and the challenges they face.It can provide inspiration and ideas for opportunities for improvement and innovation.Fieldwork involves "active looking, improving memory, informal interviewing, writing detailed field notes, and perhaps most importantly, patience" (De WALT & De WALT, 2002, p.vii).Participant observation is the process enabling researchers to learn about the activities of the people under study in the natural setting through observing and participating in those activities.He suggests that ethnography is most effective when one observes the group being studied in settings that enable him/her to "explore the organized routines of behavior" (p.41).FINE, in part, defines "peopled ethnography" as being based on extensive observation in the field, a labor-intensive activity that sometimes lasts for years.He defines participant observation as the process of establishing rapport within a community and learning to act in such a way as to blend into the community so that its members will act naturally, then removing oneself from the setting or community to immerse oneself in the data to understand what is going on and be able to write about it.He includes more than just observation in the process of being a participant observer; he includes observation, natural conversations, interviews of various sorts, checklists, questionnaires, and unobtrusive methods.


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