Observations

With this component of your final project, you are moving from traditional academic research to fieldwork (or qualitative, ethnographic work). This is an organic process, so the questions you ask for your interviews should develop from the data your survey generates, and the survey questions should be informed by your initial observations. We will discuss fieldwork techniques and methods/preparation in our course, but mostly you will be tackling this aspect of the project in in Professor Pawlukewicz’s class.

Observations
The first thing your group should do is to individually observe your local setting. For example, if your group is researching the situation caused by the no-smoking policy at CUNY, you might stand outside the various City Tech entrances to see what is going on (are people smoking? How are other people affected? Does it smell like smoke? Are these cigarette butts lying around)? You may also walk around the campus to see how prominently the no-smoking signs are posted. If you are researching the common spaces at City Tech, you might position yourself at various lounges (etc.) and take note of what is happening. You should be a silent observer, and just record what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. You are not interacting with people/places, or at this stage commenting on/analyzing your findings. You should take notes as you observe (either pen/paper, or on a smartphone/tablet if you want to seem less conspicuous). Be as specific as possible.

Before getting started, each group should collectively decide what they are going to observe/where they will conduct observations (each person should do a separate observation). Then, you should make one post for the entire group with the following:

  1. Include a statement of that rationale (at least one full paragraph): why you went to these sites to conduct your observations (how are they related to your project?).
  2. Each group member’s observations (minimum 2 full paragraphs each), prefaced by the name of the observer, date, and location of the observation
  3. A follow-up discussion (at least two full paragraphs) which is collaboratively written and which comments on/summarizes what you observed (after you collected this raw data from your three observations, what did you learn and how will you proceed in the next phases of your research?).
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