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Assignment 2 (Due week 4): Observation Report Since you will be observing in public places, you do NOT need to obtain permission from those individuals you will observe. You should be as “natural” as possible. You do not want to draw attention to yourself. Remember that people tend to behave differently if they know they are being observed. They might also perceive you as an intruder. Do not use cell phone. Contact with anyone will influence your observation and will change the nature of your research. Follow the guidelines for protection of human subjects that you learned in CITI. The observation should last between 45 minutes to one hour. 1. Prepare for the field: • Read Babbie’s guidelines for recording field observations (Chapter 10) • Select a public setting (public assistance office, hospital emergency room, employment office, social security office or other public setting where people gather and interact. EXCLUDE settings in your neighborhood and settings with which you, a close friend, or family member has or had a relationship.) • Find out how to gain access to the setting. Most government and social welfare agencies require that you check in with “security” to gain access to a building and/or office. Some settings require a picture ID. • Review the guidelines for protection of human subjects before completing the observation. 2. Conduct and record the observation: • Date and Time: Record date, time, and duration of the observation • Describe the setting: o Describe the setting and your reasons for choosing it for your observation o Discuss any problems you experienced in gaining access to the site • Record your observations: o Observe and record. Take scant notes while you observe. o Expand on your notes as soon as possible after the observation. o Be explicit and clear in your description of the behaviors and interactions you observed. 3. Identity inferences and reflect • Read your field observation report. • Underline any inferences (what you think really happened and what you think you heard). • Reflect on your personal thoughts and feelings about one of the inferences you underlined. 4. Evaluation: Summarize what you learned from this assignment.
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