Participant Observation Lauren Fahey
Module 2 What is a participant observation? A participant observation is a qualitative method with roots in traditional ethnographic research. The objective is to help researchers learn the perspectives held by study populations, and the researchers presume that there will be multiple perspectives
Qualitative researchers accomplish these findings through observation or by both observing and participating in different degrees. These observations take place in community settings during their daily activities The researcher will observe the community members in their own environment rather than having the members of the community come to them
The researchers record the data by making careful (but objective) notes about what they see. Conversations and interactions are also important parts of this research and are carefully detailed in the notes as well
What can we learn from participant observation? The data that is gained serves as a check against the participants subjective reporting of what they believe and do.
Cont. It is also useful for gaining an understanding of the physical, social, cultural and economic contexts in which study participants live; the relationships among the people, contexts, ideas, norms and events. In terms of people behavior we learn what they do, how frequently and with whom
Disadvantages The main disadvantage is how time consuming participant observation is. In most cases at least one year is spent at the field site. Another disadvantage is how difficult it is to document your data
How to record data Most of the information that is found during your observation will be recorded in detailed field notes, usually in a field notebook. They may also include maps or diagrams as well
Ethical guidelines You must make sure you are discreet about the members of the community you are documenting It is also important to not disrupt their normal activity, and not let your presence disrupt their privacy
Responsibilities as a participant observer observing people as they engage in activities that would probably occur in much the same way if you were not present• engaging to some extent in the activities taking place, either in order to better understand the local perspective or so as not to call attention to yourself •interacting with people socially outside of a controlled research environment, such as at a bar, public meeting place, bus depot, religious gathering, or market – if casual conversation gives way to more substantive discussion of the research topic, you would need to disclose your identity, affiliation, and purpose •identifying and developing relationships with key informants, stakeholders, and gatekeepers
Communication Styles Five things I learned about myself: I have a polychronic sense of time for the most part This means that I enjoy multitasking I do usually enjoy multi tasking but when I do school work it needs to be monochronic or else I cannot concentrate 4. I am also more people orientated than task oriented, which I am working on I also believe that distractions are inevitable!
Culture in the workplace Culture comes into its own in human interactions, and one of the greatest arenas for such interaction is the place where people work. In preceding chapters, you considered how culture would affect you on the job. Here, you examine the impact of culture on a variety of work-related norms and behaviors, paying particular attention to three dimensions of cultural difference that have special implications for the workplace
Three dimensions of cultural difference 1. the concept of power and power distance 2. attitudes toward uncertaintly and the unknown 3. the concept of status
The first month or two in class I was always saying, “Look at me when I talk to you,” and thekids simply wouldn’t do it. They would always look at their hands, or the blackboard, or anywhere except looking me in the face. And finally one of the other teachers told me it was a cultural thing. They should warn us about things like that.—Tony HillermanSkinwalkers
5 observations I plan on making in the classroom 1. What supplies that the school has, or is lacking- I’m interested to see how this school compares to other schools I have volunteered at 2. how the students interact with each other- are they respectful? Rowdy?
continued 3. how the students interact with the teacher- whether they are respectful and attentive 4. how the teacher acts towards the students- whether she is very strict or permissive 5. what the students curriculum consists of- what types of lessons they are being taught and how they differ from our school system
5 curriculum areas: 1. I would love to work with students and teach them a foreign language. My major is Spanish so I would love to integrate that into the lesson plan
Continued. 2. I would also like to do lessons that include technology. I’m aware that these schools may not have the most up to date tools but since technology is such a huge part of the world today I think its imperative for students to have this knowledge 3. Although my major is not PE, I learned that track and field are huge parts of Jamaican culture. I think it is very important for the children to have a PE class in order to learn and improve on things like gross motor development and working as a team
Continued 4. the Jamaicans seem very test oriented, I read that there are difficult entrance exams that the children must take before entering the next level of their education. I think it is important to cover the curriculum that will be on the tests. For the third graders I would put an emphasis on math and language arts because this is what they are being tested on
Cont. 5. in the sixth grade the students will be tested on many diffeent subjects such as Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies and Writing so my curriculum would include many of these subjects
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