What factors in this physical and social environment have an impact on the health of people in this setting?
You are to take the (participant) observer role for no less than 30 minutes. Your choice of setting is up to you, as long as it is a place where people gather together, where they relate to each other to some degree, and one covered by the course ethics approval � that is, you need to conduct your observation in a public place/space and no person must be identifiable in the field notes � you do not need to obtain informed consent, but please familiarise yourself with the ethics application approved for this assignment (available on Blackboard).
For the assignment, you are asked to submit both your field notes and an essay as outlined below:
1) Your field notes � these will need to be typed up after the field exercise for submission along with your essay.
� Start your field notes by identifying the setting in general, and give your reasons for choosing it and your relationship with it – degree of familiarity with place, people, purpose of their coming together, etc. Sketch a map of the setting.
� Lay out your field notes with a wide left hand margin. During the observation write notes that describe the place and events on the right side of the page. The margin is to be used for additional information, points of clarification, adding new interpretations and for ideas that suddenly come to mind. Remember that these margin jottings can make important contributions to concept building and analysis. They may be written at the time of the observation or they may be added at any time as you manage, interpret and analyse your data. (Note that there are no marks for tidiness here � the essence of the activity is to record your observations as they occur. You can submit your handwritten notes (i.e. it is not compulsory to type them up) but please try to write legibly!
� Describe the level of participation/observation.
� Record your observations in your field notes for half an hour. Using the two columns you have created, aim to record both factual or objective observations and also your subjective, personal interpretation of what is happening, but make certain you discriminate between these two different aspects of recording. (Note that some of the latter will occur as you write, and some will come as insights as you re-read and reflect back on what you have seen.)
� Where appropriate, ask people in the setting for their comments about the accuracy of the observations you have made. Describe interviewees. Record your own questions and their answers verbatim wherever possible.
� Where appropriate, seek information from written documents or other media about the setting, eg signs and pamphlets. Identify documents or other mediums as precisely as possible
. � You now have a collection of notes that you can use to complete the second part of the assignment
2) An essay (2500 words) in which you reflect on the fieldnotes, your observation experience and your analysis as outlined below. Please make sure you undertake all the following steps and address the questions below in your essay: (you could use these as a template for headings, but by all means develop it as appropriate for your work):
i. Introduction: here introduce your specific question.
ii. Present the case for the use of qualitative methods (and observation in particular) in public health research in general, and for researching your particular question. Here you should use your experience of the task together with relevant literature.
iii. Undertake an inductive thematic analysis of your field notes. If you want, you can go begin to theorise elements of your data. Here, describe the process you undertook in analysing the data and present your analysis, outlining key themes identified with quotes from your data, and discuss the relationship(s) you identify between these themes. This may include a map or diagram.
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