This book is a guide to research methods for practitioner research. Written in friendly and accessible language, it includes numerous practical examples based on the authors' own experiences in the field, to support readers.

The authors provide information and guidance on developing research skills such as gathering and analysing information and data, reporting findings and research design. They offer critical perspectives to help users reflect on research approaches and to scrutinise key issues in devising research questions.

This book is for undergraduate and postgraduate students, teachers and practitioners in practitioner research development and leadership programmes.

The team of authors are all within the School of Education at the University of Glasgow and have significant experience of working with practitioner researchers in education.


This chapter considers observation as a research method, with a particular interest in how you might use it as a practitioner researcher. The main focus is on qualitative observation approaches, particularly participant observation. We cover the different types of observation, the strengths and weaknesses of the method, ethical issues and the main considerations when planning observation. We also consider issues you will need to address when preparing observational information and data for analysis.

Observation as a Research Method

Observation is a flexible research method that can be used to gather quantitative or qualitative information in various contexts and settings. Visual and aural information are used to describe a particular context, detail what is happening and who is involved. Observation can also draw on secondary evidence such ...

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