PRESUME that you will be performing a research project on your topic ( Psychological Impact after Disaster on Healthcare providers) . You need accurate, valid, and reliable observations from a sample obtained from multiple sites by many co-investigators.
You will need to craft an ‘instrument’ or ‘tool’ to facilitate the observations of most interest to your study, and an accompanying training program for those surrogate /co-investigator.
Your goal is to assure inter-observer reliability, as well as overall reliability and validity of the observations.
Craft your instrument and instructions, and place them in the related assignment folder.
Semi structured and structured observations in research benefit from tools, or observation checklists the guide the observer to record key events, and facilitate the observer’s or investigator’s deriving meaning from the activities they witnessed.
Many (most) of you are allied healthcare providers. EMT’s and Paramedics, as an example. You typically had to go through demonstration of competency laboratories. The examiner has a ‘skill sheet’ with critical behaviors listed, and often a step by step guide to the specific procedure. Miss a critical step and you would be referred to remediation; miss a minor technique point, and the examiner could record that or give ‘critique’ when you finished.
In hospital settings and EMS, a similar experience in ‘disaster’ was the donning and doffing procedure for Ebola (or other Viral Hemmorhagic Fever) Personal Protective Equipment, and the “Designated Observer” who would read out the steps, and record the successful completion. The ‘record sheet’ listed the critical observations necessary to complete the task.
Using these models, a check sheet of desired behaviors can be created. Perhaps a short observation is used to determine the ‘meaningful’ behaviors of the population that interest the Principal Investigator relating to their hypothesis, or to describe the population (grounded research).
After you craft your ‘instrument’ (check sheet, for example), how would you TRAIN your observers to use your instrument? Do you also want them to list interesting, recurring behaviors you have not yet focused on?