An approach to conducting field research in an unobtrusive manner
Use this template in situations where you cannot speak directly with people, or do not want to interrupt the flow of their activities while conducting your research.
When left to their own devices, people are likely to say or do things that they’re not aware of and would not be able to articulate, even if prompted. If you can watch and listen without interfering, you have a chance to capture people’s natural behavior.
Remember to pay careful attention to people’s tasks and workflow, taking note of the information, tools, and people they rely upon to do what they do. Also be mindful of the surrounding environment, understanding that peripheral objects, sounds, and people may affect outcomes.
To use the Mural fly-on-the-wall template most effectively, follow the steps outlined below.
The first step is to define your goals for the research you’re conducting. This should be no longer than a phrase or one sentence for the purposes of this template.
Use the second section of the template to plan how you’ll conduct your research. The categories to consider include:
The third section of the template helps break down your observations across categories and add any further materials (like images, sketches, or videos) to your mural.
Note: You can assign multiple notetakers to help give extra depth to your investigation. This template suggests having a primary and secondary notetaker, but you can add more team members if you’d like.
Once you’ve conducted your research and recorded as much information as possible during the investigation, it’s time to analyze the data and look for groups or themes that can help inform action items.
To get the most out of your fly-on-the-wall research, you should: