Children's Home Observation
Part 2 – Diagram
Make a diagram showing the space, important objects, and flow of movement if people are moving around. Your goal is to create a map of an interactive space. For example, if you were watching a classroom you would note where the teacher goes in the classroom and where she or he does not go (does she mainly stand in front of the blackboard or does she circulate among the students?), and you would note the same information for the students. If you are watching a person do something on a screen (like play a game) you could do a diagram of the screen and describe the movement of objects around the screen.
One of the example memos on Blackboard contains a diagram that was done in Word. If you don’t know how to do that and don’t have time to try it out, an easy solution is to make a diagram on paper, take a picture with your cell phone camera, save that to your computer, and then insert it into the memo document you are working on. All labels, etc. have to be clear and readable, so make sure to use a dark pen such as a marker pen.
Part 3 – Evaluation/Interpretation
What do you think was happening in this situation? That is, what do you see behind the people talking and moving around? Why do you think they are doing what they are doing? Another way to think of this is to ask yourself what social processes you see. Do you see any social norms? Do you see any processes such as competition, frustration, argument, negotiation, learning, sexism, racism, resistance to any kind of discrimination, etc. happening?
• Here is where you can write things like “I think that the person I was observing was the manager of the Starbucks and that she was being unusually harsh on her employees that day.” Back up statements like this with references to details in your log.
Part 4 – Write a guiding question and a 3-point guide for a follow-up observation
Take the mindset “This was an introductory observation to help me plan what I will look for when I go back to the same situation. The next time I am in that situation, the question I keep in mind will be “...” and I will make sure to 1. ... 2. ... 3. ... “