Potential problems gathering information by observation

  • Practice
    • To be used effectively, observation requires great deal of practice.
  • Observer presence
    • Presence of observer will affect behaviours, therefore disturbances must be minimised.
  • Objectivity
    • Difficult to remain objective – therefore ethical – when asking detailed questions to enhance understanding.
  • Element of chance
    • Chance event occurring may be taken as a regular occurrence if observations not taken over prolonged period of time.
  • Interpretation
    • May observe someone talking idly whereas they may actually be on a break.
  • Selectivity
    • May be selective in what is observed and recorded. E.g. behaviour in IT support department will not be typical of behaviour in other departments.





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