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Unobtrusive Observation

You are collecting data for a qualitative research study examining interaction patterns of humans in a public setting. Your task is to make a single continuous observation at an open public setting. Record your observations using the provided guidelines. Also, see Engel and Schutt (2013) chapters 10 and 11 for further guidance.

Field notes need to include the following elements.

The time you entered and exited the field; the date of the field observation; location of the field observation; and a brief descriptive topic label that captures the essence of the field session. Please include the name and address of where the meeting took place.
A Description of the setting. This includes a description of the physical space including the furniture, decor, lighting, smells, and anything else that catches your attention. Also pay attention to the relationship of the setting to the community in which it is located and the pace or atmosphere of the place. First impressions are powerful and often convey what an outsider would have to say about the organization and its physical structure.
A Description of the people in the setting.
Who is in attendance? How many attended (excluding yourself and other students)? What types of people? How many females? How many people of color? What is the range of ages of the attendees? Comment on the socio-economic status of the participants. Is the group predominantly middle class? Working class? How many attendees were mandated to attend (needed a signature from the person running the group)?
How would you characterize the personality of the group (e.g., friendly warm, or people don’t appear connected or interact)?
Include a list of people and their roles (make your best guess, but No Names Please), short demographic and descriptive portraits of each person, and descriptions of their relationship to each other. Each time a person enters the site, notes should include a short description of the newcomer.