Methodological considerations when conducting direct observation in an outdoor environment: our experience in local parks

S. Engelhard, J. Stubbs, P. Weston, S. Fitzgerald, Billie Giles-Corti, A.J. Milat, D. Honeysett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: This paper discusses some of the inherent methodological limitations of gathering data via direct observation using local parks as a case study.Methods: Direct observation was carried out in five parks on seven non-consecutive days in 1998 and on matched days in 1999. Information recorded for each person included the time of park entry and exit, gender, age group, and activity/ies undertaken while in the park.Methodological considerations: The location of the observation point, observer reliability, recording and accuracy of data, and specific issues related to outdoor observation areas should all be considered when designing a study incorporating direct observation as a data collection method.Conclusions: Direct observation can provide valuable information. However, pilot testing is essential for minimising potential problems associated with this method and optimising data quality.Implications: The issues discussed in this paper provide a useful guide for other researchers undertaking direct observation in outdoor environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-151
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Volume25
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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