ONE PAGE IN 6 HOURS
How did the design of the place look?
How was the layout inside?
Describe and decorations that stood out?
How was the atmosphere? (e.g. music, lighting, ambiance, noise etc.)
Who are there at the setting?
What are their general emotions?
Can you categorize people into groups? If yes, how many groups are there? Describe each group
When/How people enter the setting?
Describe any interesting body language from the actors?
How did people behave while they are at the setting?
Describe any specific event happening during your observation
Sample of Observation Report
Data Collection: Participant observation in the store over one week’s duration. Because this researcher is a regular customer, employees did not think it odd for him to be in the store for several hours at a time. He made four 3-hour observations.
Store setting: With 300 sq. ft. of space, the store is organized to minimize theft. Valuable items are kept in the front display case or are hanging on walls. Two employees from behind the front counter can easily see most areas of the store. LPs and CDs are stacked in shelves and boxes around the store. In some places, stacks reach from floor to ceiling. No signs or banners mark music choices; only regular customers know where everything is. The small space prohibits maintaining any distance of personal space, and it is difficult to avoid interacting in some way with the other customers. Hardcore punk and heavy metal posters depicting various scenes of mutilation, sex acts, and left-wing political propaganda hang on all the walls.
Actors: Two employees in their 20s, one male and one female. Numbers of customers range from a low of 9 to a high of 21 at one time. About 60 customers come in and out during any 3-hour visit. Four basic types of customers enter the store:
1. Punks/Skateheads-usually have short, dyed hair and multiple body piercings or tattoos (or both). They prefer music by The Clash, Black Flag, and so on. Sub groups within this category include Mall Punks, Surf Punks, East Coast Punks, and so forth.
2. Meta/heads-usually have long hair; wear jeans, T-shirts, and boots; and have tattoos, earrings, or both. They prefer listening to Pantera, AC/DC, Metallica, and so forth. Within Metalheads are subgroups called Long Hairs, Short Hairs, Glam, Thrash, Death, and so on.
3. Goths/Vamps-usually dress in black; hair is dyed black. Musical preferences include Sisters of Mercy, Christian Death, and Nine Inch Nails.
4. Yuppies-usually dress in khakis and pressed shirts and have neat, stylish hair cuts. They like Bruce Springsteen and Prince.
Action: Yuppie encounters. The main activity takes place between the protagonist regular consumer or employees and an outcast consumer antagonist, the Yuppie. Whenever Yuppies come into the store, employees and most of the customers ignore them. Unaccustomed to such posters and memorabilia hanging on the walls, Yuppies are initially amused. It quickly turns to disgust or repulsion. If they still don’t get the message, employees turn up the stereo system to a near-deafening volume and play hardcore punk rock. Yuppies usually leave after a few minutes. Here are some typical encounters:
Three female yuppies enter the store, pausing to look around. A group of 10 Punks and Skateheads are near the front counter talking and looking at magazines. The girls begin pointing and “ooohing” and “aahhing” at the stuff on the walls. They notice a poster featuring a close-up of Type O Negative’s lead singer’s naked butt. It is titled “Origin of the Feces.” One says “gross,” and they file out of the store. Total time: 72 seconds.