While there are several types of qualititative observation methods, I will only be focusing on a few of those choices; Ethnography, Narritive Inquiry, Short Term Observation, Phenomenology, and Kinesics. While I won't be going into extreme detail, I will be outlining the basics of each of these styles of observation methods.


Ethnography is a long term study of a group of individuals or an entire culture. However, in this case, the researcher must become a part of the culture by imersing themselves into the culture. By imersing themselves into the culture, the researchers will be able to better understand the interconnections between behaviors and individual interatctions.

Narritive Inquiry

Narritive Inquiry consists of multiple stories all put together to tell one larger story about an individual or situation. The researcher in this case takes notes, records important information, and recalls oral stories to explain their research. This observation method is mainly used in social sciences.

Short Term Observation

Short Term Observation is alot like Ethnography except it takes a lot less time to gather and complete the information. With this method of observation, the study can last anywhere from 6 months (which is the least amount of time to appear credible) to one or more years. Along with a shorter study period, the researcher only focuses on specific ideas and issues within the culture or group of people while interacting with them.


Phenoenology is mainly used my phycologists to better understand the connection between unconscious ways of thinking in relation to how a group of people or culture act. For example, a reasearcher may notice that in an co-ed office, the women wear white shirts on Fridays. Instead of assuming that Friday is their favorite day or that white is their favorite color, the researcher tries to find out if their is cultural significance.


Kinesics is the study of body language in relation to what is being said. Basically, a researcher can observe a group of individuals and just look at their physical movement and action and determine if it corresponds or contradicts what is being conveyed verbally.