Field observation

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Observation,in all its varieties, is a process of "planned, methodical watching that involves constraintsto improve accuracy"(Weick 1968:358). Thus, while nearly everyone who goes to a zoo sees the animals there, and many even watch some of those animals, very few can be said to observe their behavior. What distinguishes observation from mere watching is the use of careful, methodical plans for "the selection, provocation, recording, and encoding of that set of behaviors and settings concerning relevant organisms 'in situ' which is consistent with empirical aims" (Weick 1968:360). What distinguishes the various overlapping and intergrading observational methods is the the character of these plans.

(McAll, 1994: 264).

See also:




  • McCall, G. J. (1984). Systematic field observation. Annual review of sociology, 263-282. PDF (Access restricted)
  • Ocumpaugh, J., Baker, R.S.J.d., Rodrigo, M.M.T. (2012) Baker-Rodrigo Observation Method Protocol (BROMP) 1.0. Training Manual version 1.0. Technical Report. New York, NY: EdLab. Manila, Philippines: Ateneo Laboratory for the Learning Sciences. pdf


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