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How to write an observation essay: samples, tips and ideas.

If your assignment is to write an observation essay you should consider that this type of writing is rather specific and the usual research stage is transformed into field noting during observation. In fact, here you must take 3 important steps: take field notes, interpret them and write the paper. What is more, you should be acknowledged about the special writing rules, which observation essay requires.

Rule 1. Structure the paper properly.

  • The observation essay, the same as any other type of paper, has 3 main parts: an introduction, body and a conclusion. The specific feature of them is that all the paragraphs are organized around a specific thread.
  • For example, the introduction should state the research question (it is either assigned or corresponds to your interests) and overviews the setting, which you observe.
  • Main body paragraphs are ruled by certain concepts: each part tells about time, location, setting or conditions.
  • The conclusion goes back to research question indicating if it has been answered successfully or not. Also, you should show some perspective and explain the significance of your work to the reader.

Rule 2. Write self-respectively.

  • The peculiarity of the observation essay is that usually you are a part of the setting, which you are describing, which means that you may change or make an impact on it. Therefore, you should take it into account.
  • As you are an eye-witness of all what is going on, you should use the first person in writing for the cases what you have observed but not what you personally think of the situation.

Rule 3. Write in a clear voice.

  • Your statements must be accurate and clear. Therefore, we recommend you to use active voice for verbs mostly, which will ease the understanding of your paper.
  • In most cases, present and past verb tenses are used. Typically, when you are writing about the events, which you have observed, you may use either present or past tense. However, when you analyze the situation or interpret your recordings you should use present tense only.

Rule 4. Take field notes.

  • Taking field notes is one of the most essential steps in your observation work.
  • You should pay attention to such points as exact time, data, location, weather conditions and physical arrangements.
  • It is highly recommended that you indicate the exact timings when you start and finish the observation.
  • Remember that during taking the field notes you have to just describe what you see not analyze. Interpreting the data is possible on the second step, which is recording the gathered information.
  • You should also note what you have not seen and indicate the factors, which interfered with your observation.
  • In case you conduct the observation of a big number of people you should select a certain group or several participants in order for your observation to be more detailed.
  • Pay attention to people’s actions and interaction as it is a good material for future analysis.
  • Remember that first you are to describe what you have seen and only after you need to interpret the data.

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