Observation Reflection

Instructions:  Complete one 45-minute observation and reflect on your experience using this form.


  1. Pose 1-2 simple research questions that you can answer by observing an interaction you can safely observe: 1) live, in-person in your home (adhering to your local COVID-19 pandemic guidelines); OR 2) online (e.g., an online meeting, course).


Live examples:

  • Family members engaging in a task together
  • Children engaging in online learning
  • Family member cooking, cleaning, or engaged in other housekeeping or yardwork


Online examples:

  • 45 minutes of recording from this course
  • 45 minute online, video workshop/meeting that you have permission to observe for an assignment


  1. Try to include a qualitative (field notes) and quantitative component (counts, close-ended questions). Example:
    • What is the nature of interaction between two children studying together? How much overall time is spent speaking vs. independently working?


  1. Observe for 45 minutes.


  1. Take field notes (laptop and paper are both acceptable).


  1. Complete this reflection form. Attach a copy of your notes (scanned handwritten notes or typed notes) to this form.





  1. What were your research questions?


List your research questions here.



  1. What time did you start observing? What time did you finish observing?


List the range of your time for your observations here.



  1. Describe the setting you observed and why it was appropriate for answering your research questions.


 In 2-3 sentences, describe the local context you observed. Where did you conduct the observation?  What was happening in the setting? Why was it appropriate for your research questions?





  1. Overall, what did you learn from the observation?


In one paragraph, that is less than 250 words, write what you uncovered in your observation.



  1. What were your own lessons learned regarding conducting observations? What did this exercise teach you about the observation process?


In one paragraph, that is less than 250 words, write what you learned about conducting observations.



  1. What would you do differently in the future if you conduct an observation for research purposes?


In one paragraph, that is less than 250 words, write what you would do differently next time.



  1. Now that you know more about the observation process, what would you include on a protocol if you were to do an observation like this again?


In one paragraph, that is less than 250 words, write what you would include on a protocol next time.



  1. Thinking about what you have learned about observation, in what ways could formal observation for research purposes be used in your workplace?


In one paragraph, that is less than 250 words, write about how observation could be used in your workplace.



  1. Thinking about what you have learned about observation, do you need to adjust anything in your research road map for your dissertation? Why or why not?


In 1-3 sentences, reflect on your research road map and your new knowledge regarding observation.


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