A Handbook for Teacher Research: From Design to Implementation

By Colin Lankshear; Michele Michele | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Collecting observed data in
qualitative teacher research

Introduction: types of observed data
Carefully and systematically recorded observations of 'slices of everyday life' generate richly detailed accounts of practices rarely obtained through interviews alone, and can provide deep insights into social practices, events and processes. Collecting observed data emphasizes recording 'naturally occurring' or contextualized data about what is happening in social settings as it happens. Ethnographies, case studies and action research approaches make much use of observation data to construct richly descriptive and interpreted accounts of events, practices or cultures over time.Observed data are pieces of information collected by systematically watching people going about their daily lives; watching events as they unfold. Collecting observed data is relatively self-explanatory. Researchers carefully watch events and interactions occurring within circumscribed settings and create detailed records of what they 'see'. Types of observed data include:
written records of direct observations (e.g. fieldnotes made in the 'heat of the moment' as things are happening);
indirect records of observations (e.g. post facto notes written from memory after the observation period has ended);
videotapes of activity (e.g. a classroom lesson, children's play during lunch at school);

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