Observational writing can be applied to many fields and subjects. You may find it working its way into general writing courses as well as disciplines that require some form of qualitative research. In essence, observational writing is a form of 'direct investigation' as it looks to analyze the precise details of an event, person, area, situation, concept, or phenomena.
In other words, observational writing attempts to provide the reader with a sensory experience that allows them to see the subject 'as if they themselves were present.' In addition, it also works to bring a new and crisp interpretation to light (for instance, taking a common occurrence, such as animals in their habitat and presenting it in an unexpected or alternative manner).
Different forms of observation
There are many reasons to conduct an observation. To begin, a distinction should be made between observations that are done to compile information and the observations that are done to formulate an observational essay. In some cases a writer of a fictional story, poet, or even a news article writer may decide to include some brief observations in their writing as means of adding interest to the piece or in some cases providing necessary evidence to prove a particular point. Likewise, a researcher, with a topic in psychology, may also include some bits of observation in the midst of conducting qualitative research. All of these examples fall under observations done to collect or compile information or data.
The observational essay, on the other hand, is an essay entirely devoted to a particular observation of a person, place, event or object (rather than being one component of a larger project such as a research paper or news article). This type of writing follows its own set of guidelines and formatting.
Generally an observational essay will;
- Place the author as an outside observer
- Make a 'fresh' or new observation of the subject
- Include sensory details
- If an event provide the details of it step-by-step
- Be more than a compilation of notes, but engaging and interesting to read as well
- Provide some insight into the subject and or reflection on what has been observed
Though all of these descriptions may not apply to every observational essay, they are a general guideline of what to expect when reading or preparing this form of writing.
Writing the observational essay
Step #1-What should you write about?
A suitable topic for an observational essay can range from a kid's playground in your local neighborhood to a colony of bees enjoying the morning sun; despite the selection, it's important to choose a subject that you are comfortable writing about and can see yourself having easy access to (without being overly involved or interfering with the subject).
For instance, with the example of a kid's playground, if you go to the playground with your own child or a friend's child you know that you will have an impact on that environment. And the same can be said for a bee colony-your mere presence may disrupt the activity of the bees present and therefore influence the results of the observation. Which leads us to the second step; choosing whether or not to be an outside observer (spectator) or an active participant in your observation.
Step #2-What is your role?
In most cases writers may find being a spectator as the most comfortable role to take on for the observational essay. This may be for several reason; one being, that as an observer you really get to concentrate on taking detailed notes at the moment, rather than recalling information later on (as would likely be the case if you were a participant). Though writing as a participant as well may occur in many situations where the choice is really unavoidable. For instance, if you wanted to write an observational piece on your brother's graduation or something of this nature, it would really be difficult to not get involved. Similarly. in some cases even if you have the option of being only a spectator, you must also factor in the possible influence you may have on the environment, event, or person being studied.
Step #3 Observe and take detailed notes
This is obviously one of the most important steps for this particular essay (as your notes are your paper for the most part). Its important to consider several factors when taking detailed notes, some of them include; mood, feeling, and sensory details such as smell and sound. Also the importance of providing clear and precise visual descriptions to make the reader 'feel as if' they were experiencing the event or observing the subject as you are observing is heavily stressed. *The exact order in which things occurred is also important when observing an event taking place.
Step #4 Reflect on your notes, elaborate, and organize
Reflection in some form usually has its place in an observational essay whereas reactions may or may not be included. The difference is that reactions may be limited to specific feelings and thoughts as it relates to something in particular that was observed, whereas reflections are generally more planned and poised in their presentations. Your reflections for instance, may look at the 'bigger picture' or connect what occurred (or what was observed) to larger concepts or ideas.
Secondly, elaborating on your notes is a good way to really get your paper started. Elaboration may simply include adding in a few questions that you may want to explore, or providing more details to an already existing description. You may decide to focus on your most memorable point of observation and provide a lengthy explanation of that and so on. Also at this point you should begin organizing your information; identify a few specific organizational structures, test them out, and see how each will work out for your essay.
*Depending on the subject that is being observed, you may decide to describe the information in (a) the order that it occurred, (b) according to what you consider to be the most relevant or important issue, or you may decide to even (c) organize it in the form of a narrative. One of the biggest issues that will influence your organizational structure is mainly the subject that you've examined and the audience that you are preparing the essay for (Think-which structure will work best for them?).
Step #6 Start your first draft!
Now that you've done all the work and laid out all of the necessary information, you can begin to formulate your first draft. You may find it beneficial to also design an informal outline prior to writing your first draft, though this is not always necessary. Likewise, depending on how well you took to elaborating on your notes, much of your first draft should already be in motion. The only other issues that may need to be addressed are how you will unify the different items observed, transition paragraphs and constructing a sound and engaging introduction to grab your reader's attention as well as set the tone for your essay.
“Nothing has such power to broaden the mind as the ability to investigate systematically and all that comes under thy observation in life.”
Every person faces various life situations when it is important to acquire information from a primary source to answer specific questions. Grab an observation essay example to see how experts arrange such information. Fact, observation, and inference are three words students should memorize. Writing a good observation essay makes a movie director out of the writer: he/she is focused on describing a particular experience using five senses:
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Observation Essay Example of Outline
Read our unique guideline to have an observation essay example of outline!
You should face the problem discussed in your paper at least once in your life. To create a powerful observation essay, the author has to be a topic guru: describe what you survived or what inspires you.
Example: you decide to cover the topic of how safe it is to fly on a plane. It is not enough to take statistics and say it is the safest type of transport in the world without being the passenger. A good writer must share personal experience in order to support this claim. Attend a new restaurant before writing a review. Watch the latest movie before criticizing it in your work.
The planned experience involves taking notes, so carry a blank sheet of paper or mobile phone everywhere to write a part of what you wish to share. Leave the details for your first observation essay draft. Describe the entire process: from entering the restaurant and making an order to accepting the bill from the waiter. Conclude your impressions in the paper’s draft. Select several criteria to put a specific grade: quality of service, a variety of food, the location of the table, etc.
Each time your personal opinion changes (e.g., you order a different dish), write down these modifications. Put the events in a chronological order not to get confused. Ask your friends about the same restaurant to have a fuller picture before concluding.
Do not forget to obtain rights reserved once you’re done so that no one steals your words.
Write an Outline
To have a proper, logical paper structure, it is important to come up with an outline. Every time you get stuck, have a look at your observation essay plan to arrange the thoughts. You may change your final draft, but you must stick to the prepared outline. If your teacher requires, make a separate page with a detailed outline.
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Try to provide the reading audience with the unique opportunity to familiarize them with the described event/experience. Write your thesis statement first. It will be the essay’s fundament; create a sound hook sentence to catch your reader’s eyes. Share some background information to let the readers know why you have chosen the specific observation essay topics. Example: you discuss the political elections campaign; tell several words about the candidates and the general mood of the event.
An observational essay has a body like any other type of academic assignment: research paper, article review, book report, etc. Teachers recommend developing a three-paragraph body with three powerful, supporting arguments. Arrange the notes according to your paper’s outline; add more details. Remember:
“Often it is tiny fragments which either make a picture convincing or incidental."
Prevent your last paragraph from being wordy. Write a summary of the main points (arguments), restate your thesis sentence, and finish your paper with a call-to-action or another technique applied to leave powerful impressions. You may end with a rhetorical action, for example. Do not forget about the paper’s last page! The last page of an observation essay must contain a full bibliography list (list of references) to stress the author respects works with all rights reserved.
Proofread & Edit!
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Once you are done with your observation essay, do not hurry to submit your paper - there are several factors to check on every page:
- Spelling & Punctuation
Check whether the paper’s formatting corresponds to the instructor’s requirements; scan the final draft to see if it is 100% unique.
GET ORIGINAL TOPIC IDEAS
15 Most Effective Observation Essay Topics
Impressive vocabulary & organization skills are two other features a student needs to write a good observation essay. The main goal is not to deliver a certain message, but share valuable experience with your audience. It is important to choose the topic carefully. Discover free, useful observation essay examples to grab several great ideas for your personal paper.
Here is the list of observation essay topics to choose from:
- Thoughts on body piercing and tattoo
- Is tolerance important?
- Which video game may result in death?
- Significance of freedom and independence
- Meaning of money in modern world
- Sports develop leadership
- How I met my favorite movie star
- Is it dangerous to fly on the planes?
- Which book is worth reading at any age?
- New restaurant next-door
- The perfect birthday/wedding gift
- How must the word “honesty” be defined in dictionaries?
- Music as a great healing therapy
- How I personally became successful after writing the first page of my short story
- The qualities of true leaders based on people I met in my life
Type the title of the essay you like in Google search field to find a good observation essay example to use in your work.
Get Several Good Observation Essay Writing Tips
- Stay concise on the personal impression. Remember: the main goal of your personal paper is to ensure the reader’s experience will be enriched with your impressions.
- Get a notebook or mobile phone writing app to jot down every detail regarding your personal experience. A written word is more powerful than the one said before.
- Do not overload your observation essay with too many words; try to avoid wordiness by ignoring transitional & introductory words (try to limit their usage). Structure your thesis statement clearly by selecting only the most important words on the chosen topic.
- Apply several examples related to your topic by describing several situations you faced during the entire life in details. It helps the readers to get a wider picture as well as share your personal experience.
- An observation essay has a lot of common features with the descriptive narrative; play with five human senses. Make sure every page of your paper makes the reader taste, hear, smell, see, and even touch your topic.
- No matter what place or subject you describe, try to remain objective in order to make the readers trust you.
- Do not forget to insert quotes from the reliable primary sources. Mention all works with rights reserved on the last page called Bibliography.
Remember: it is necessary to share lessons learned in order to highlight the importance of your selected topic. You can find excellent observation essay examples online. If you feel your observation essay lacks something, or you want a professional writer to proofread & edit your paper, feel free to order online academic assistance from one of the most credible companies.
Enrich your outlook by getting involved in something completely new. Share your personal experience in your own words!
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