Extra Credit – Observational Activity

Nonparticipant Observer Assignment (Unfocused)

In this activity you are to conduct an observation in a public space (a mall, park, city street, shopping center, etc.) This will be a directed activity. In other words, we will be looking to answer specific research questions rather than simply observing everything going on. As a first step, I would like for you to document the location.


Take about 5 minutes and draw a “map” of the space. Indicate where objects and people are in relation to one another


Now, for the next 10 minutes I want you to document your observations. Note the time every :30 sec or so on the left. In the middle column write your observations as you see them. In the right column, note your personal reactions.

Time Who do you see? What are the characteristics of the individuals (sex, ethnicity, language, age, etc.)? How many people are there? What are people doing? Who is interacting with whom? Comments – What are your personal reactions to what you see? What do you think is going on?


Time Notes Comments
Study your notes and observations. Do you notice any patterns? Can you conclude anything about how people group themselves by the types of interactions they have and with whom they interact Write a short essay (350 words or so) summarizing your findings.

Here is a handout for recording your field observations: Nonparticipant Observer Assignment

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