The obser-view: a method of generating data and learning
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The obser-view: a method of generating data and learning

Linda Kragelund Associate professor, Department of Education, Research Programme for Care, Sustainability and Health, Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark

Aim To introduce the ‘obser-view’ qualitative research method and to show how obser-view can be used in research.

Background The author developed the obser-view during a qualitative research project about nursing students’ learning processes, because participants wanted to talk with the author after being observed. Conducting a non-scripted interview immediately post-observation became the obser-view.

Data sources Eleven nursing students on clinical placement in psychiatric hospital wards participated in the project. Nine participated in obser-views.

Review methods A review of literature resulted in two sources in which ‘obserview’ (not ‘obser-view’) was used to gain explanations of participants’ actions, whereas the author sought a greater understanding of participants’ actions.

Discussion Whether to include a dialogue with the nursing students in the research design was a dilemma. An argument for so doing was that the method would support efforts to make the research transparent, as the obser-view would give the author an inside, an outside and an inter-subject perspective of the data and increase the internal validity of the research.

Conclusion During the obser-view dialogue, the researcher, as a catalyst for reflection, has the opportunity to obtain participants’ views of the observed situation, and for the researcher and participants to reflect on the situation both have been part of. The obser-view offers the researcher a deeper understanding of empirical data than can be gained from observation and qualitative semi-structured interviews alone, and offers participants deeper understanding of their actions.

Implications for practice/research There is potential to use the obser-view in research involving students or patients, including families and cares of patients, whether in psychiatric or physical nursing. Further use over time will show in what other fields the obser-view method can be used to generate data and as a learning space for researcher and participant.

Nurse Researcher. 20, 5, 6-10. doi: 10.7748/nr2013.

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Accepted: 18 June 2012

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