Direct observation

Direct observation is a process of observing objects, people, events and relationships. It is used throughout the assessment process. It can be a very easy means of gathering data about how people interact with each other and how they go about their daily activities. Direct observation can be done individually or with community members.

When doing direct observation, you need to confirm that you have properly understood what you observe as it is easy to misinterpret what you are seeing.

Use it to…

  • Document behaviour, physical aspects of a community and activities.

  • Fill in information “gaps” that cannot be filled through other tools.

  • Support observations and conclusions made while using other tools.

  • Helps the VCA team to understand the context in which the information is being gathered, to validate the conclusions made through the use of other tools and to gain a more complete understanding of the community and the relationships between its members.

  • Describe things that may be hard for participants to verbalize.

See how to do direct observation step by step
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© International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies 2018