Observation

Observation helps organisations to think about services from the perspective of their users.

Known in research circles as ethnography, this involves observing things from the point of view of participants so rather than talking to people about their experiences, the researcher joins in and sees it for themselves. Observation helps organisations to think about services from the perspective of their users. This is best suited to gathering engagement data.

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Positives:

  • Helpful in initial programme design
  • Understanding the point of view of people using services
  • Gaining a better understanding of an unfamiliar setting or group of people
  • Drop-in services, where more in-depth research methods may not feel appropriate


Limitations:

  • Resource-intensive, as it takes a lot of time and the data that comes out of it is unwieldy (notes and similar documents that need more work to make sense of)
  • It's best if the observer is an 'outsider', as it's easier for them to participate without preconceptions
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Ethnographic Research

For more detail on ethnography as a research method, see this video from Nesta.



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