Begin with factual information such as the date, time, and location of the observation. Continue by writing down all of your observations. Keep these observations brief and to the point. Make certain that it is well-organized and simple to grasp. Use proper scientific terminology where applicable.
For example, if you were observing a tree, you might note that it is the "silver lance tree" or that it is growing in the "woods near my house." You could also mention that it is estimated to be about 200 years old. Finally, you could say that its trunk measures about 1 foot across and that the flowers appear white or pink.
Observations are important in science because they help scientists understand how things work. Without knowing what happens when we pour water into a glass, for example, we would have no way of understanding why some recipes call for the addition of salt before pouring in the water. Observations also help scientists learn more about the world around them. By making observations regularly, scientists can see how trees grow, why some animals look different from others, and so much more.
As you make observations, think about what you've seen and heard. Do not just list facts from memory. Write them down immediately after they happen so you do not forget them.
Make a cohesive narrative out of your observation notes. Begin at the beginning, but make careful to connect relevant observations. Your observation story should be written in the present tense and should be sequential. Be as specific as possible while being objective. Avoid expressing personal opinions or judgments.
To write an observation summary, start with a brief overview of what you observed. State the subject matter accurately and completely. Summarize the main features and distinguish them from minor details. Finally, provide a comprehensive conclusion that ties everything together.
Examples of observation summaries include: "The park had more people visiting it during weekends than during weekdays," "The movie theater showed only one film this month which means it is not doing well economically," "Most of the visitors to the museum were school children because that's all they allowed to enter for free." Observation stories are usually written in the past tense but some authors use the present tense too. For example, you can say "People visit the park" instead of "They used to visit the park." Observations are facts while opinions are subjective views about something. So when writing observation stories, be accurate and descriptive without over-generalizing or giving away proprietary information.
Observation stories are very useful for scientists who want to know more about something they have seen, such as a natural phenomenon like a storm or an accident at work.
There are two methods for documenting observations: note-taking and behavioral coding. Note-taking is the most basic and recommended method, especially if you're new to user research. As you observe the user, make a note of each observation on a sticky note. You can write down your thoughts as they come to you or wait until later to analyze what you saw. Either way, keep taking notes!
Once you've gathered a few notes, you'll want to organize them by person, device, or site feature. This will help you compare how users interact with your product on different devices or at different times. You can also use this information to create a mind map for topics that may not have otherwise been apparent before. Finally, go back over your notes and summarize what you learned from each user session. This will help you identify trends and patterns that may not be clear from just one interaction with a user.
Recording your observations in this manner will help you document the various ways users interact with your product. It will also allow you to compare these findings with other studies performed on the same product, which can help you identify similarities and differences in how people use it.