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Whether you are studying business or computer information science, developing keen observation skills will benefit you professionally. As a paralegal, you will observe courtroom proceedings and the jurors’ reactions. As a business analyst, you may observe market trends for real estate. In these situations and many others, observation allows you to “study [your] subjects and learn something by seeing them in a particular way” (Mauk & Metz, 2014, p.


Observation is also a personal behavior. Some people are people watchers, observing the behaviors of others in malls or in the lunchroom at work. Some people like watching elements of nature. Bird watchers, for example, spend time observing the behavior of birds in their natural habitat.

Professional behaviors

What professional behaviors or situations can you observe? What personal situations or behaviors could you observe?

Take time to make an observation. Before you complete your observation, review this helpful information about observations. 

Observation examples

You should also refer to the observation examples in Chapter 4 of the textbook and the examples below:

  • A psychology major may be interested in exploring the research-based notion that girls mature faster than boys. Observing the interaction of a group of four-year-olds, boys and girls, would likely provide an opportunity to test this notion, at least on one group of children.
  • A criminal justice or criminal investigations student may want to watch a crime-centered television show: COPS, Snapped, and such shows.
  • A parent could observe specific behavior of his or her children.
  • A bank teller or cashier could observe how customers behave when they are making transactions.
  • At the zoo, a visitor can observe the behaviors of a specific type of animal.
  • A company employee could observe how other employees interact with each other.

These examples, along with those in the textbook, should help you identify the observation you are going to complete. Your observation can be personal or professional. However, be sure to take notes as you observe. You may delay writing the essay until well after you have completed the observation; therefore, the notes will help you remember specific details and behaviors you witnessed.

After you have completed an observation, write an essay discussing the observation and what you witnessed. Use the three sample observation essays in the textbook, on pages 96-104, as models.

Your observation essay should have a clear introduction, body, and conclusion.

Your submission should be one to two (1-2) double-spaced pages in length. This does not include the APA formatted title page.  

Your observation is a personal experience, so it is not necessary to include information from outside sources. For this essay, because you are writing from personal experience, using first person (I, me, my) is acceptable, but should be used only as necessary. In most academic essays, however, first person and second person (you, your) are not used.
You will not be allowed to use first or second person in future essays in this class.


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