Be a good observer in a fundamental aspect when conducting research. Observation is the process of observing someone or something. It is often an informal action, but it can also be formal and involve data collection. It can also be the information collected itself. There are different types from scientific to social.

You’re likely to observe all the time and see many examples in your daily life. And now you can identify the different types that occur around you all the time. Once you’ve made an observation, you can make an inference from what you’ve seen to come to a conclusion. Test your knowledge of the subject with a worksheet. Ready to master another skill? Look at some examples of classical conditioning in everyday life. You may be surprised by some of them.

Understanding this technique

In science, it is necessary to make observations to test or refute hypotheses using the scientific method, the process of hypothesizing, predicting, testing and concluding based.

While it is true that all scientists use it, anyone can do so simply by observing. To understand, take a look at different examples of scientific, technical and social observation.

Before we get into the patterns, styles, and results, let’s step back into context. We can apply it to many things, from nature to traffic, storms and almost anything. According to Jiménez (2004), what we observe in the unusual can produce a moment of wonder that we can apply. However, in our daily search, the things closest to us can produce the most relevant and meaningful observations. The key is to take the time to take a step back and put the puzzle back together.

Examples of scientific observation

In science, observation occurs at all times. The scientist can observe the structure of a cell under a microscope or see how genetically modified plants grow.

Chemical reaction in an experiment

Patient after giving an injection

Astronomer who observes the night sky and records data about the motion and brightness of the objects he sees

Zoologist observing lions in a burrow after the introduction of a prey to determine how quickly the animals respond

Air traffic controllers observe on their monitors the movements and location of aircraft.

Meteorologist observing Doppler radar as a storm approaches

Botanist who records daily data on plant growth after observing and measuring each day

Chart showing the data collected over time

Doctor observing a patient’s reaction to a medication

Examples of technical observation

For a chef to do their job well means they will have to look at specific things to make sure the food is coming out correctly or that their employee is performing well.

Chef watching his roast in the oven while cooking

Fisherman who observes the tension of his sedal, indicating that a fish has bitten the hook.

Crab fisherman who observes the activity of his cages, indicating that he has caught crabs.

Psychologist observing a wife’s reaction to her husband’s confession

Childcare provider who observes children’s interaction

Baker watching your cake in the oven to make sure it goes up and cooks properly

Cook watching the water boil before adding the pasta

Producer watching the actors in a scene

Kennel operator watching the dogs play together

Mechanic staring under the hood while the car is running to try to diagnose a problem

Teacher observing his students during independent working time

Boss who observes construction workers to determine their effectiveness

Room manager watching the dealers and players of a casino to prevent theft or fraud

Principal who observes a teacher teaching his class to judge his effectiveness as an educator

Examples of social observation

Whether you’re a parent watching your child or watching a couple fighting in the park, social observation occurs at all times.

Parent watching their children interact with other children on the playground

Child watching a fish in a fish tank

Children’s league coach who watches children play to determine their strengths and weaknesses

Viewer watching the development of a film on the big screen

Person sitting in a restaurant looking at others

Parent watching their children playing together

Nanny watching the dog and cat play with the children

Man watching pigeons eating alpiste in the park

Children watching ducks swimming in a pond

Tools used in observation






Audio recorders

Video recorders

Magnetic resonance machines

X-ray machines




Tape metrics


Why is it important to be a good observer?

Life and work are a mess, passing at full speed while we try to keep up the right pace. Getting the right balance is good enough, but good enough doesn’t allow us to mess up our life’s work in a real and purposeful way. Being dizzy does not produce lasting results.

Just looking produces nothing. Observing produces insights when we evaluate patterns, styles, and outcomes. The reason it’s important is centered here: discern patterns, styles, and results.

The things closest to us can be broken down into a simple two by two, consisting of work and life and the self and others. But the goal is not to limit ourselves, but to understand the interesting habits with the elements closest to us.

Removing barriers

When we look at ourselves, we participate at least 8 hours a day in a work environment. The other 16 hours were spent in a living environment.

Let’s do an exercise. In the “Me” column, we are a colleague or a colleague. Our work environment provides a scenario in which we interact with others to perform tasks, projects and initiatives. Our living environment provides a scenario in which we build relationships to help each other or take on other interests that develop us as good human beings.

Moving on to the “Others” column, our work and living environments contain many characters and stories. We can see how others collaborate in their workplaces. We can see how others are citizens in their communities.

Within every place and orientation, there is the good and the bad. We can look at what we do well and what we don’t. We can look at what others do well and not so well. According to Londoño et al (2014), each of them offers a meaningful learning moment if we take the time to observe, consider and act. To act on observations is to change our habits to be better people. Getting out of our observation boxes is the kind of leader we are and want to become.

To observe is only to look out the window. Deciding what you learn and then acting more consciously are the keys to being a more complete leader. The window through which we look is reflected in the window of our soul. From here, our wheels of inspiration and aspiration turn in a positive direction.

Being an observer within each area provides a generous insight in which we can see patterns, styles and results.

Patterns, styles, and results

Within each of them, we learn and lead in a more conscious way. After all, being self-aware is only part of the formula. The other part includes being aware of others. Together, enhanced consciousness emerges as the new standard. The formula: Self-awareness + Awareness of others = Improved consciousness.

Patterns are the connections we can make with behaviors, actions, inactions, conversations, thoughts, etc. Patterns are connection points that we make, seeing a larger image or a direction that is negative or positive.

They are the behaviors and approaches we detect that distinguish an individual from others. What distinguishes someone can be positive behaviors, methods and attitudes or negative behaviors, methods and attitudes. The good and the bad produce perceptions of what we should do and what we should avoid.

The results are the conclusions. Some are significantly successful. Some are not successful in many respects. Relating patterns and styles to outcomes allows us to determine what our patterns and styles should be for the best results in life and work.

Characteristics of the method of data collection by this technique

It is a systematic method

It is not random or unplanned. The length of the periods, the interval between them, the number, the area or situation of observation and the different techniques used are carefully planned. Systematic efforts are often made to monitor the situation if special factors are to be studied, for example, the study of honest behaviour, sportsmanship, leadership qualities, etc.

It is specific

It does not just look for general aspects of human behavior. Rather, it addresses those specific aspects of the overall situation that are supposed to be significant from the point of view of the purpose of the study. The layman can often overlook what is crucial when observing an event or phenomenon, but the scientific observer must look for some concrete things that fit his purpose of study to save his time, money and observation effort.

It’s objective

It must be objective and free of prejudice as far as possible. It should usually be guided by a hypothesis. Ethical neutrality must be maintained. You should think of the hypothesis as something to be tested. At the same time, however, it must maintain a flexible attitude, so that it can deviate from its original plan when such a deviation seems inevitable.

It is quantitative

Although many important phenomena cannot be quantified, it becomes almost imperative to use some means of quantifying observations in order to increase their accuracy and facilitate their analysis. Even quality must be converted into quantity, because qualitative data are subjective and quantitative data are objective and can also be interpreted objectively.

It’s a matter of eyes

It is a systematic and deliberate study through the eyes. An observer collects the data he has seen with his own eyes. Collecting information through the eyes is probably the most reliable technique of data collection in social research.

Defined objective

It must have defined aims and objectives. They must be clearly defined before starting the observation process itself. Without the right aims and objectives, observation will be short-lived and costly.

Registration is performed immediately

During the observation period it is very difficult to remember each and every element of the observation. You can forget a lot of important information. If we rely on memory, the forgetting factor will enter and affect the observation data. Therefore, you should record all important information as soon as you finish the observation.

It is verifiable

The result can be verified and verified. It must be verified against the usual criteria of reliability, validity and usefulness. It is possible to check the results by repeating the study.

What are the qualities of a good observer

According to Guevara (2016), the qualities of a good observer are as follows:

Good physical condition

Mental fitness is not the only quality, but also possesses physical fitness. If a person has a good physical condition, they should be considered as a good observer. Therefore, both physical and mental condition are necessary.

Immediate registration

If a person has the ability to judge the situation quickly and have an acute mind, they will immediately record the information. Therefore, you need to record the data immediately.

Capacity for discrimination

It must have the ability to discriminate about the things that should be observed and those that should not. It has the ability to differentiate things and situations.

Good view

You need to have good eyesight. You must observe the situation in its real form.


It must be different from other people. You must have a quick mind and the power to see the situations that occur in the moment.

Estimating ability

It is a general quality and one of the most important. To estimate what will happen in the future. You must possess the quality of estimating the future of your study.

Good perception

The power of perception of a researcher must be high. You must perceive things and the situation really and your vision of these situations must be quick and sharp.

Control of emotions

A researcher’s emotions must be under his or her own control. You must have emotional control to achieve accuracy and objectivity.

Efficient sensory organs

Your sensory organs must function effectively. You must have the quality to use your five senses properly.

Fast decision-making

It must have the quality to judge and make decisions quickly. You must have the ability to know the good and the bad, the relevant and the irrelevant.

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You may be also interested in: An I3A researcher achieves the best doctoral thesis 2020 of Numerical Methods

Bibliographic References

Guevara, P. R. (2016). The state of the art in research: analysis of accumulated knowledge or inquiry into new senses? Folios Magazine,165-179. Retrieved from

Jiménez, A. (2004). Research practices in the social sciences. Bogotá: UPN Universidad Pedagógica Nacional. Retrieved from:

Londoño, O., Maldonado, L., & Calderon, L. (2014). Guide to building states of the art. Retrieved from:

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The Observation: Characteristics of a Good Observer

The Observation: Characteristics of a Good Observer. Photo: Unsplash. Credits: Rochelle Nicole @rchllwlsn

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