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tekijä: Tanja Tuulikki Välisalo Viimeisin muutos keskiviikko 29. helmikuuta 2012, 16.43


circle of data collection methods

Data Collection Existing Materials Self-Produced Materials Total Research Sampling Purposive Sampling Archives and Collections Observations Narrativies Interviews Questionnares Experiments Follow-up Study


An observation is a data collection method, by which you gather knowledge of the researched phenomenon through making observations of the phenomena, as and when it occurs. You should aim to focus your observations on human behaviour, the use of the phenomenon and human interactions related to the phenomenon. You can also make observations on verbal and nonverbal expressions. In making and documenting observations, you need to clearly differentiate your own observations from the observations provided to you by other people. The range of data storage genre found in Archives and Collections, is suitable for documenting observations e.g. audio, visual, textual and digital including sub-genres of note taking, audio recording and video recording.

There exist various observation practices, and your role as an observer may vary according to the research approach. You make observations from either the outsider or insider point of view in relation to the researched phenomenon and the observation technique can be structured or unstructured. The degree of the outsider or insider points of view can be seen as a movable point in a continuum between the extremes of outsider and insider. If you decide to take the insider point of view, you will be a participant observer in situ and actively participate in the observed situation or community. The activity of a Participant observer in situ is called field work. This observation technique has traditionally belonged to the data collection methods of ethnology and anthropology. If you decide to take the outsider point of view, you try to try to distance yourself from your own cultural ties and observe the researched community as an outsider observer.

Read more on observation from the links below:

Rolly Constable, Marla Cowell, Sarita Zornek Crawford, David Golden, Jake Hartvigsen, Kathryn Morgan, Anne Mudgett, Kris Parrish, Laura Thomas, Erika Yolanda Thompson, Rosie Turner, and Mike Palmquist. (2005). Ethnography, Observational Research, and Narrative Inquiry. Writing@CSU. Colorado State University Department of English.

Observational techniques. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Participant observation. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Field work. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Bartis, Peter, 2002. Folklife and Fieldwork: A Layman’s Introduction to Field Techniques. The American Folklife Center. Washington: Library of Congress.

Routio, Pentti, 2007. Descriptive Observation and Experiment. Arteology, the science of products and professions. The Aalto University School of Art and Design