chapter  12
11 Pages

Action research

WithBRENDA NICODEMUS, LAURIE SWABEY

In broad terms, observations may be considered a fundamental data collection method used to gain an understanding of participants, behaviors, processes, or artifacts. In the social sciences, scholars may opt to conduct naturalistic observation, whereby researchers observe participants in their natural setting. Scholars have also focused on observations themselves as an object of analysis, and epistemological reflections on first and second order observations can be made. Observations may also focus on individual activities, for example, teaching and other performances in educational settings, or translators and interpreters at work. Research using observations requires an attention to the epistemological foundations that shape the ways in which observations of activities can be made. Moreover, the analysis of observations involves reflection on the observational process itself, which may include coding and analysis for field observations, qualitative and quantitative research design, acknowledgement of study limitations, and methodological triangulation to contextualize findings.