How to write an observation report: The introduction



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6 minutes

How to write an observation report: The introduction

The observation report requires you to do exactly as the title states– observe – but in a constructive and educational way. Basically, you are given the chance to express your views on how you see the world, the processes around you, the things around you and so on. Yes, there are some observation reports that might seem boring, let’s say if you have to observe a plant (you can always choose a carnivorous one and have fun with it), but it’s up to you to make it interesting. Remember: you are given the opportunity to observe something, you are responsible if you choose something boring or fun.

Tips on how to write an observation report

The task

First of all, you need to understand the task. What is it you need to observe? An object in your room? A chemical process? The evolution of a seed? Upon understanding the task, you can move forward and try to figure out what is it you find interesting to study, because as mentioned above, it’s important to like what you do so that it will involve you completely.

The observation timeframe

One other thing to pay attention to when it comes to observation reports is the timeframe of the observation. There are certain projects that require a certain time frame (a day), there are others that expand to several months. The idea here is to understand how much it takes to finish this project and create a schedule around it. If you have to observe a plant growing in a timeframe of 6 months, you need to create the habit of checking up on it as often as possible.

The observation notes

Always take notes. Any changes that you might see during the time frame screening, note it down and write your impressions and observations. You might be surprised how easy it is for one to forget or let these little information slip off unknowingly. In this way, you will be completing your report gradually with information gathered from each step of the process, rather than just making some final observations at the end.

The pictures

If you really want to learn how to write an observation report, you should really want to know about how to make it presentable. Pictures are one great way to enhance your notes and illustrate the changes that have appeared during the timeframe observational process. With all this technology around, it’s really simple to increase the chances of scoring big with your teachers because you can take pictures in a number of ways: zoomed in and out, macro, timelapse videos, etc. If you are a tech enthusiastic geek, you can always use something smart and efficient (a GOPRO camera, maybe) to create a real feeling of how the transformation occurs. Additionally, if you want to score big and make a real impression, try to use fixed photos with no shakes. You need to seem like a professional observer and that’s why your work needs to be exquisite.

The observational kit

In order to master this task, you will need to build yourself an observational kit so that you will always have your tools close by when things need to be documented. However, the kit you assemble would depend entirely on the nature of the subject being observed. For traditional observations, you will need a notepad, a pencil and camera, but of course, it really depends on what you are documenting. If you are observing a documented house, you will need a video camera, another teammate and a voice recorder so that you can make all the notes possible exactly when they happen.

Always take evidence

Argueing your observations. This is extremely important, especially when you are observing a plant or something that changes relatively rapidly over the specified amount of time. When you are building your observation report, be sure to take samples and evidences of the changes and show them to your audience. Vision is a very strong way of communicating, but hearing and touching are very effective as well. Additionally, if you create a multi-sensory experience, you are more likely to win the interest of your audience. For example, if you are explaining the process of growing a flower, use the smell and the touch of the leaves as a way of presenting your observations as well. In this way, the students and the teachers will get a grasp of the real deal and you’ll score great with them for sure.

The key piece of advice into how to write an observation report is to properly draft and edit your information. As much as observations go, they are simply some raw materials that you need to work with. In order to score a golden A+ with your teacher, you need to be able to present the observation in an interesting and fun way. Think about it: would you sit and listen to yourself for 10 minutes just reading some boring piece of info off a paper? Of course not. Taking that into consideration try to point out the most important facts of your observational process and convince your audience that it was an interesting experience.

Do the project yourself

There are some students that don’t want to wait around to take the notes while the observation process take place and just google the results similar to what they have to do. I’m sure we all know what is called plagiarism and the severe punishments that this can bring. As much as this is an effective way to write your observation report it doesn’t help you understand the process completely. You will just be using the information written by someone else. The whole purpose of this task is for you to observe the changes that take place and note them down. This means that the whole process is constructed from bits and pieces and every piece of information is connected to the whole process.

Experiment and see what happens

Experimenting requires having a great deal of observation trait. You need to make detailed observations of every step, stage and changes that occur in all of them. One of the greatest things about an observation report is the fact that you are given the chance to experiment and observe the changes that happen if you alter various outside factors. You can modify many things in the environment and observe the changes that occur with these modifications. The idea is to have fun in the process as well, so that the project becomes interesting and you will actually learn something worthwhile. Think about the following task: you have to observe how a vegetable garden grows during a limited amount of time. Upon finishing this particular task you can actually learn how to grow your own food and this is something that is surely notable.


To conclude, these are some basic guidelines that you need to follow in order to learn how to write an observation report. If you follow these instructions and pick an observational object that sparks your interest, you will surely have a positive feedback from your audience and even the teacher.

Originally published Jul 02, 2017, updated Dec 29, 2020

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