Fieldwork Participation and Observation

In our everyday life, habits guide our actions and somewhat make us do what we do in a certain way, some consciously, some unconscious. Because of our habitual actions, some things are being ignored and unnoticed. This includes the people around us, their actions, the small details of places and characters around us. People are too busy with their own lives that they other things go unnoticed around them. Most of the time, we are too wary of our own actions that there is no regard being given to others.

In this project, I have chosen to observe most of the things going on around me in an ordinary place. As part of the fieldwork, while taking notes from time to time, I also chose to participate to make the whole process to flow more naturally. Observations ranging from the people, employees, and the place are some of the things that were observed and noted during this fieldwork.  I made my observation in a grocery store where people are either just passing buy, coming in and out, andor just looking around. This includes people of different ages, gender, and actions. I also spent time outside the site for additional observations.

As I went to the grocery store for this observation, I made an outline of what I should be recording during this fieldwork. Since it is a fieldwork in anthropology, this should pertain to observations in peoples actions, characteristics, relationship to the place and other people, and the situations that arise hereon. The first thing I was about to observe is the number of people coming in and out of the grocery store during regular hours.

Here, a question is made up what makes people do what they do In this situation, go to the grocery store and buy stuff. Some drive kilometres away from the store to get supplies and products they want and needed. This proposed another question to what stuff are actually needed and wanted by people. This extends to how the consumption and after consumption is related to this. But this is so extensive anyway so Ill leave it to the experts. Outside, you can see the character of people and how they deal with their surroundings. Some people smile even they  do not know the people they see as they go inside the store. Some of them actually smiled at me while sitting or standing during the observation, but undeniably, some are not really that friendly to those that they dont know. I only take notes as people pass by away from me to avoid awkwardness in their part as participants, and me as the observant, or in some way an observing participant.

As I went inside the store, more observations were seen and more questions were thought, as there were more things that can be seen or felt. This includes again the people, and additionally the actual products and other concepts that could be discussed with further research. As of now, my only concern is to observe the things going on inside and outside my chosen site. As I came in, an employee smiled and greeted me in a cheerful way. I think this is just but normal and an acceptable attitude if you are working in a place like this. The question here is raised based on the emotional state of these people smiling at you, are they really happy to serve you, how do they really feel about their work About their place About the people shopping, coming in and coming out of the place About their co-employees These are some of the curious thoughts inside of my head as I write about the things that went out as I enter the place. Of course I also greeted the employee with a smile as part of the participation.

I went around from sections to sections to observe not only the characters and actions of the buyers, but as well as their relations with the employees and vice versa. One question that came to my mind is the process of how the buyers choose the products they are getting. Is it the price, the quality, or the availability Moreover, I saw one costumer ask for another brand of a particular product that she cannot see in the shelf, and her way of asking was polite and was complemented by the employee with a smile and courteous response. While some other costumers are undeniably rude in asking for assistance, maybe because of the stress or something. Here, I observed that whatever actions andor character you show to some people, you most likely get an equal corresponding response which could be negative or positive. And no matter what situation youre in, it is important to respect other peoples actions and ideas in some ways, because you one doesnt really know everything in this world.

More other things were observed in this exercise, while some are to be addressed to more knowledgeable people (ie. anthropologists and sociologists), some are practically common observations that we neglect to see as we do our habitual actions in our everyday lives. The methodological implications of this fieldwork attest a good understanding of our surroundings as part of a particular environment with other people and other things that interacts with us. As I mentioned, I didnt take notes while observing, instead I come up with my understanding and then write whatever I have in mind. This could prevent me to be accused of being unethical as because of not asking permission to the participants, for this could cause a possibly scripted actions shown by the people being observed on. Lastly, In this essay, I did not include the actual name of the grocery store as well as other grand details (ie the names of the employee, time and date of visit among others) to practice and ensure confidentiality. Though these are quite essential, I think my observation is far more important at this time.


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