SAN JOSÉ STATE UNIVERSITY
School of Social Work
Assignment 2: Qualitative Research Exercise
( Due at the start of class, __/__/__ )
This exercise involves the application of concepts in qualitative research that were introduced in
Students will choose between ONE of the following:
I. Ethnographic Observation
An ethnography is a useful qualitative research tool in which data is collected about people
interacting in a particular setting.
In this exercise of ethnographic observation, you will be an unobtrusive
observing the social world of individuals and/or groups in a particular setting.
The goal of this exercise is to do a 90-minute observation in a selected setting and to document
your observations using field notes.
In ethnographic research, field notes serve as the central source of
data and are used to capture in detail your observations while in the setting.
More specifically, notes from
the field should contain complete narratives and should provide “thick and rich description” of the setting so
that anyone who reads your field notes will understand and experience the social setting without actually
Preparation and Methodological Considerations:
Please review class materials relevant to ethnographic observation.
Select a site to study.
The site must contain a group of participants that are different from you
in 2 out of following list of characteristics:
Choose a safe setting and gain permission to visit if necessary
Develop an observational protocol (see example) to help record detailed field notes.
Allow 90 minutes to observe a single setting where people interact.
Record basic information about the setting as well as who, what, when, and for how long you
observed particular events and activities.
Field notes should include descriptive and reflective
notes, and drawing(s) diagramming the setting and important features.
Observation Assignment Format: (5 pages maximum
, NOT including title page and appendix)
Title Page (in APA format)
Summary (in APA format) which includes the following:
Introduction describing a major theme of interest, research question, the setting, and its
Narrative / Primary Analyses Narrative, including:
An analysis of the setting, participants, events, and activities (e.g., details such as
rituals of social interaction, the use of social space, body language)
Conclusions based on your observations
Discussion about standards of quality, verification, credibility, and trustworthiness
applicable to your observation and interpretation
Discussion about potential relevance of your study to social work practice and/or
research, especially from a transcultural perspective
Appendix of typed field notes taken from your observational protocol, and drawing(s).
might be several pages.