Covers an often-omitted subject in general qualitative textbook Benefits from the extensive qualitative research experience of its author Provides starting point templates for readers conducting original qualitative research Offers readers suggestions for using and adapting the qualitative instrument templates Ties each template back to methods and methodology to ensure trustworthiness and rigor Provides templates of interview protocols, focus group moderator guides, content analysis tools, document analysis tools, reflective questionnaires, diary and journal logs, and observational rubrics Gives the reader either a cut-and-paste solution for their own research or a starting point to design their own personalized qualitative tools.

Observation Tools

Qualitative observation refers to data that are observed with our senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing. These observations do not involve measurements or numbers. Instead, they comprise behaviors, non-verbal actions and interactions, shapes and textures of objects, the physical environment and setting, and anything else that may contextualize the study of individuals in their natural setting.


The observer is part spy, part voyeur, part fan, part member.

(Van Maanen, 1978, p. 346)

Observation Defined

Lincoln and Denzin (2008) capture the essence of observation: “Going into a social situation and looking is another important way of gathering materials about that social world” (p. 48). Marshall and Rossman (1989) extend this definition by adding that observation is “the systematic description of events, behaviors, and artifacts in the social ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles