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Practice Reports

Method Post #1 Observation

I decided to use the research method of Observation to understand how teenagers spend their time on the internet. For this research I observed by 17 year old brother as he used the computer in the living room to complete his assignments. My brother is constantly on the computer and uses it to complete his homework assignments but it was interesting to see how many other pages was opened during his “homework” time. I observed my brother for two afternoons while he did his homework on the computer, he started his assignments at 7:00 pm and ended at 12:00 am.  On average he has about 4 – 5 assignments to complete each night and during that time he was on the computer, he had approximately  6 tabs opened (google docs, Facebook, pokemon showdown, serbi.net, jazz music from youtube and was on a skype call with his friends.  

As I observed my brother I noticed he was multi tasking and was trying to completing his assignments, however, he was distracted most of the time. He flipped through tabs continuously ,and held a video conference/chat with his friends. The chat with his friends had nothing to do with the homework assignments and they would also distract him. Even though he knew what tasks he had to complete it took him longer than expected to complete them. After observing my brother for two nights I decided to share my observation with him. We spoke about his extra activities on the computer while he was suppose to be doing his homework and how it actually takes him longer to complete the task because he is distracted. I tried to help him understand that he could complete his assignments in a shorter time if he wasn’t doing so much all at once. He expressed that this is what works for him and eventually everything gets completed.

I decided to try the observation method because I was able to record things without interrupting. I tried to be as objective as possible and tried to let him be as natural as if I was never there. Observation is a easy method however, it takes time to complete, and that may be the hardest part of doing observations on children or people. I think I may use this method for my own research project , I would just have to manage my time appropriately in order to get the observations I need.

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