Design Activity 3

How to Write Field Notes


Part 1: INSCRIPTION  Choose a site on campus (library, atrium, cafeteria, Starbucks, gym, pool, hallway, etc.) to observe for 20-30 minutes (#1-7 in How to Write FieldNotes handout).
1. February, 10th 2018//1:00PM-4:00PM//second floor old:library
2.  Inside Lib:
     when first arrived @ 1 –> zero people
     @ 2:15 –> 1 person arrived, sat at opposite end of room than me
     @ 3:00 –> group of 4 girls (sat at opposite side of room than me, different table than the other
     person present
     @ 3:10 –> 1 person arrives, sits on couch
     @ 3:15 –> group of 2 arrive (boy/girl) sat on my end of room, one table in between us
     @ 3:35 –> 1 person arrives, sits on other couch in room
     Outside Lib:
    -many people traveling in groups (from lib without backpacks)
    -returning into lib with food/drink (starbucks majority)
3. -Very quiet, everyone whispering, everyone in room except boy/girl group has headphones in
    -cold sitting by window (everyone is closer to window than aisle)
    -hand dryer in women’s bathroom which faces this room, only thing that breaks silence
4. -Felt okay in this situation because I was taking notes in a place where it is normal to be doing so
    -Got to see different view of this part of the library from a more objective point of view
5. Only two groups of people were talking
    -4 girls were far away but as they left, “I just have to finish writing this paper tomorrow…”
    -2 people (boy/girl) girl writing in notebook, boy looking out window-soccer practice going on (speaks
     about this)
6. Everyone choses their own table, no one wanting to sit at a table that is already taken
     Those (myself included) get upset if people are talking or loud on this side of the lib, though everyone
     still wears headphones, to have noise as they work
Part 2: DESCRIPTION Create a write-up of the event (#2-4 Description, Analysis, Reflection)
2. the occasion I was in was one of quiet movements, as both individuals and groups moved in the space just as quietly as they stayed in the space, just as quietly as they left the space. No one had food in this space, instead only liquids. Even those leaving the library went to get drinks in order to bring back. Most people came as individuals to this section of the library
3. Most people had water bottles with them, in order to get up and fill them at the tap. It is most likely due to the loudness that food and wrappers can make that an assortment of liquids could be found. Those who did come in groups to this section were the ones to be the most distracted through soft whispers, and were there the shortest amount of time.
4. This research was not very uncomfortable because I was in a setting where I blended in as I took notes and would glance up if someone new entered. Taking photos I found to be the most difficult and awkward, though not totally out of the normal due to social media (i.e. snapchat). I felt connected because I too was a part of this picture, noticing how even when I entered this space, I chose to sit on the outside, like the many other individuals did.
Part 3: BLOG POST
This week I hoped to practice this style of research called ethnography, as it is something I have never done before in this way, but have sat and observed a person/group before. I like the idea that the goal of this research is to improve the life of others through their actions and what can be changed, instead of just simply using it as description or observation. As discussed in Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes, I do believe that this form of ‘participant observation’ as the work describes, is the tangible work that designs are based on, and the importance of empathy. From being a student myself, and a frequenter of this part of the library, I noticed things that were common practice for myself, but found a new way to approach these habits when observing others. I had empathy for their reasoning behind the actions made, and because of this was better able to document and analyze my findings.

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