Public Observation



Observationis the art of examining the subject of interest by use of the eyesand the mind. There are different types of observation. To mentionfew, one can observe a video by turning off the sound and try toobserve the pictures and images of that video. On the other hand, onecan visit a public place and try to observe behaviors of the peoplein that environment. Like any other methods of data collection biasesthe information, observation as a method can also bias the dataespecially due to the observer’s influence. The role of theobserver is to minimize biased information and can be achieved bytaking remedies to those actions that influences the qualityobservation. Hence, the paper tries to observe the setting of acoffee shop together with the behaviors of the customers and thecoffee shop attendants. The paper further elaborates how researchersand observers can influence the data collected or how the role of theresearcher can bias the data collected. In addition, the paperhighlights how to manage bias in research and observation. The placeof observation is a public coffee shop located at the union student.I selected the place as it easily accessible, the populationcomprises of different cultures, age, and behavior hence ability toobserve and learn more about the setting and the behaviors.

TheStarbucks coffee shop located at the student union in BGSU is a busycoffee shop yet a peculiarly relaxing and fashionable place to take acup of coffee and hang out. The coffee shop is featured withattractive stylistic walls in which one side of the wall is made ofglass in the upper side and made of wood in the lower part. The woodpart of the wall is painted bright red making the place an excitingplace to hang out and take a cup of coffee. The other part of thewall that was not made of glass was decorated with beautiful paintsand the art would typically show itself in the presence of light fromthe two lambs in the ceiling. The kind of feature enables people tosee trough the walls the kind of activities that are taking place inthe coffee shop. The two red lambs from the ceiling shaped likeflower buds have an attractive force that blends well with the brightred color painted on the lower part of the wall. Near the entrance ofthe coffee shop is two green plants that greets people as they enterthe shop. The union Starbucks coffee shop has no door making iteffortless for anyone to enter and leave the coffee shop at freewill.

Atthe right side of the coffee shop is a vast counter filled withfoodstuffs and variety of drinks. The counter was packed with allsorts of snacks shaped with different shapes ranging from round,oval, and heart shape to mention some. In the rear of the counter isa table with a variety of electronics situated by the side of thewall. Amid the counter and the table full of electronic devices, is afridge purposely meant for ice. The precise coffee shop servesfoodstuffs of different colors and snacks of different colors andshapes that have an automatic attraction to the eyes of thecustomers. The coffee shop menu is on the wall and not the bookletmenu normally put on the coffee tables in other coffee shops. inaddition of the foodstuffs, drinks, counter, the fridge ant the tablefull of electronic devices is a separate area full of chairs, sofasand tables. In total is a set of five-leather sofa in which thebiggest of all occupied the area along the glass wall. At the cornersof the coffee shop occupied other for small leather sofas. As if notenough, the art of appreciating different shapes blended the shopperfectly with oval, round and rectangular tables.

Besidesthe observation of the coffee shop setting and arrangement was ableto observe the customer behaviors. The coffee shop was active in themorning hours as many people waited for services. The delicious smellof the foodstuffs in the coffee shop attracted the customers andpersuaded them to wait long on the line for service. The customerslooked determined as they waited to be served on the long queue.Despite the fact that the line was ling, no one complained insteadwould only see the signs moving lips but everyone was calm towardeach other. Some clients were going through their phones as theywaited some had earphones, some chatting with colleagues while othersjust starred the space. Perhaps such they behaved the way they did tobreak the boredom of waiting on the line. All kinds of persons cameto the coffee shop to grab a mug of coffee, take a snack, or passsome time. Prominent observation regarding the behaviors of thecustomers is that, those customers who bought either a drink or anyfood hurriedly left the coffee shop. However, those clients whostayed in the coffee shop were less likely to buy food or drinks. Thepeople who stayed in the coffee shop sat on the sofas either ingroups or as individuals. Some of those in groups had somediscussions maybe they were working on course work projects since thecoffee shop was dominated with students. some shared quality timewith their friends as they enjoyed drinks and other foodstuffs, somewere comfortably sleeping at the sofas situated in corners whileothers ate while playing with their phones and at different occasionsstring at the space . As if not enough, some clients concentratedworking on their laptops while others listened to soft music in thecoffee shop as they were going through their books. Since they werereluctant to order for something, the cashiers kept asking thecustomers what they wanted to be served at the same time remainingcourteous to each client. The cashiers maintained a smile on theirface even after inquiring from the clients now and then even afterseveral turn down. Sometimes the customers would assume the presenceof the cashier and kept on with their conversation.

Anotherimportant observation is that most of the people who hang out on thesofas left the coffee shop at the same time. Maybe their classes weresome minutes ahead and they would have enough time to stroll to studyrooms. As if not enough, as the group that was hanging around left,another group of people came to the coffee shop. Maybe they werestudents who had finished some lessons, had a break hence wanted adrink, a snack or to hang out prior next class. Some of the people inthe group that just came left on a hurry after being served whileothers stayed around. Maybe those who left almost immediately hadconsecutive classes while those who stayed had some time before thenext class or they were done for that day.

Howthe role as a researcher can influence or bias the observation

Researchersplays a significant role while collecting data or observing givenevents. They are part of the study as they are the ones collectingand analyzing that given data. However, if the researchers involvethemselves in the research and take, some issues and facts personalthey will end up biasing the information. The role as an observer caninfluence the observation if I maintain personal influence towardsthe subject of observation. As much as possible the observer need toobserve the activities taking place from both the general meaning andthe hidden meaning of why the subject of observation is behaving theway it is behaving. The observer need not to use the past knowledge,own experience in observing the subject as that will contribute tobiasness. another way in which an observer can influence theobservation is through including themselves in the subject ofobservation. Conducting a study or an observation means that theresearcher or the observer has to participate. However, when doingthe study or observing, it is important for the observer to keephimself or herself out of the topic or object of observation. Theyneed to analyse or observe what is taking place, the culturalbehaviors of what and those under observation while keeping them outof the observation.

Sincerityis another role that observers have to maintain. To be sincere is toobserve what is happening and reporting according to the observationwithout favor or undermining any event. The level of sinceritydetermines the quality of that given observation or study. Lack ofsincerity will contribute to observation bias. Another role of theobserver is to remain natural to the entire period of observation.Exaggerating on one side makes the side to gain more attention whileless emphasis on other sides undermines those sides. Every activitythat an observer observes has a reason to why it was acted so. Forinstance, in the above observation of the coffee shop, people whobought anything from the coffee shop left the shop on hurry maybe toattend to classes or other important issues. While those who hang outrelaxed, busy with their laptops, chatting or listening to soft musicbecause they wanted to waste sometime and not to indulge in buyingfrom the coffee shop. Use of “maybe” ensure that the observationto remain as neutral as possible hence reducing the rate observerinfluence during the observation.

Inaddition, observers play a role of reflecting the analytical analysisskills during the observation. This particular role that observersplay while observing something may influence the observation or biasthe observation. If the observer does not echo on the analyticalskills, the observer may end up observing things from just a generalperspective leaving out crucial part of the observation that need areflect of analytical skills. Another role an observer plays is thatof selecting the place and the population of observation. The idealobservation is the one that is reliable, easily accessible and theone that is more likely to produce the anticipated outcome. When theobservation population and place is identified, selection bias cropup if the criteria used in studying the customers in a coffee shopare different.

Howto manage the bias

Researchersand observers can manage bias trough taking measures that helpmonitor the observer involvement during the observation. Another wayis a multiple conception regarding the observation. Observers need toobserve particular event in both the general perspective and thehidden perspective. Additionally to manage bias in observation,observers need to maintain sincerity during the observation, try tobe neutral, choose a topic and a place that will minimize bias. Manya time researchers and observers choose a place or a topic thatfavors them. Familiarity contributes to bias as they will use theknowledge and skills they already posses. To manage bias of thattype, researchers need to choose a new topic and a new place toobserve. Echoing on analytical skills in analyzing the observationmay also help in managing bias.


Researchersare subject to the topic of research as they take part in collectingand analyzing data. Sometimes the role researchers’ play incollecting and analyzing data lead to biased information, as theytend to give their own opinion, lack sincerity, involve themselves in the study and fail to consider the analytical skills of observingand collecting data. Such actions that results from the roles theyplay many a time leads to bias. To manage biased information,researchers should maintain sincerity, choose a topic that is newwhich they do not have prior knowledge, use analytical skills intheir studies and monitoring their actions to ensure that they do notinvolve themselves in the studies.


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