Participant observation is a method of research in the social sciences. An investigator studies the life of a group by sharing in its activities. That is, the investigator participates within the area they are observing and from which the data will be gathered. (DeWalt & DeWalt, 2010). Participant observation is foundational to the field of qualitative research known as ethnography. This process is the opposite of observing a phenomenon from the outside, making sure you do not influence or interact with the people or system you are studying. A participant observer is just that: an observer who is also a participant. You will be a participant observer in this week. Everyone you meet has a story. Every place you go tells a tale. Are you listening?
In preparation for your participant observation, complete this week’s assigned readings and download and read the Week 5 Assignment Handout: Participant Observation Guidelines, which will guide your efforts for this assignment.
In addition, review the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ article “Statistical Language—Quantitative and Qualitative Data,” a Learning Resource you read in Week 4. Select a public place in which to conduct your participant observations, such as a local coffee shop, diner/restaurant, youth sports field, grocery store, gas station, group public transportation (bus, train, or subway), or amusement park. Consider the types of qualitative and quantitative data you are likely to gather in this location.
Conduct your participant observation by spending at least 45 minutes in the public place you selected.
Do three things with your observations:
Submit a minimum 5- to 6-slide presentation that includes:
Note: The optional resource section provides links to the MS PowerPoint and Prezi websites. You may visit these sites to learn more about these two popular slideshow software programs.
To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:
To prepare for this blog post:
In one paragraph, summarize how the resources in Week 5 extend your understanding of problem solving.
Post this paragraph in your blog.
Read your colleagues’ blogs and consider what resonates with you. Contribute to at least one colleague’s blog.
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