Think about an issue or social problem you are interested in and develop a research question.

The purpose of this assignment is to give you a hands-on experience with one fundamental method of qualitative data-gathering: ethnographic or field observation. It will provide you with an opportunity to develop your observational skills and to learn about some of the issues surrounding the use of your own observations to generate data for social work research.


Participant observation is defined as a research technique characterized by the effort of an investigator to gain entrance into and social acceptance by a culture or group so as better to attain a comprehensive understanding of the internal structure of the society. You should take as many field notes on your observation as possible (facts, thoughts, and impressions), as close to the time of your observations as possible. You will be provided a worksheet for your field notes and are expected to submit it with your paper.


Think about an issue or social problem you are interested in and develop a research question. With the question in mind, choose a social media or website that is open to the public… Please use facebook. If you have any questions or concerns about your choice, check with me! You should conduct at least 1 hour total of observation, over the course of at least 3 visits. It is recommended to stay at least 20 mins per visit.


After completing at least 3 observations of the social media or website you chose, you will complete a 4-5 page double spaced paper including the following:


What is your research question? How did you arrive this topic?
Describe the website and explain why you chose the website or social media
Document the date and time of your observations


Patterns & Interpretation(s) of what you saw:
What did you see?

What behaviors and patterns did you observe?
Did you find out any things that you were interested in or surprised by on the website during your observation periods?


How did this observation project help you to better understand the issue/social problem you are interested in?
What did you learn from this observation that will be useful for you in social work practice?


I have uploaded a sample paper for the assignment. Please let me know if you have any questions about it.

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