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How to Write an Observation Essay Easily

Jul 20, 2018

In one form or another, observational writing is applied in a wide variety of fields and subjects. You may find it working its way into general courses and disciplines that require some form of qualitative research. "How to write an observation essay?" - You may ask yourself after being given an assignment like this. Don't worry since it is not as difficult as it might look at a glance. In case you are an inquisitive person, you have better chances to write a fantastic essay of this kind. Although they often say that curiosity killed a cat, it proves to be a valuable asset when it comes to this essay type.

To write an observation essay well, you should become the reader's partner, helping them immerse themselves in the atmosphere you have experienced fully. Your description should come to life through the reader's imagination, and that's one of the main points here.

What is an observation essay? Let's define it first!

In essence, an observation essay is a form of "direct investigation," a piece of writing that requires one to observe and meticulously analyze an event, person, area, situation, concept, or phenomena. In other words, observational writing attempts to provide the reader with a highly detailed sensory experience that would allow them to perceive the subject as if they were watching it. When you are conducting an observation, it is essential for you to pay particular attention to the object and take notes while doing that.

To everything straight, a distinction should be made between the observations that are done solely to compile raw data and those that are undertaken to write an essay. In some cases, a writer of a fictional story or a news article may decide to include some brief observations in their writing as a means of adding interest to the piece or providing the necessary evidence to prove a particular point. Likewise, a researcher may also include the data collected through observations in their qualitative research.

But the observation essay writing assignment is different in a way that it serves as a tool for assessment. Your observational skills and attentiveness are evaluated based on how well you completed the task. This type of writing follows its own set of guidelines and formatting, which are laid out below.

Writing an observation essay: the 7 Tips to follow

Every essay has its characteristic features and writing requirements. It is impossible to write something properly without knowing its primary aim and peculiarities. So, what should we consider when writing an observation essay? Let's take a look at the most significant aspects you should learn first:

  • 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. When deciding on the topic, go for something you at least are interested in and can see yourself having easy access to (without being overly involved or interfering with the subject). Why? Because only in such a case will you write an informative and gripping essay. Also, it might be very tedious to write about things that you don't like. You wouldn't want to waste your time like that, right?
    For instance, if we take a look at the kid's playground example, there are several important things you need to be aware of. If you go to the playground with your own child or a friend's child, you will have an impact on that environment. And the same goes for the bee colony: your mere presence may disrupt the activity of the insects and therefore influence the results of your observation, making them unreliable. That leads us to the second step: choosing whether or not to be an outside observer (spectator) or an active participant in your observation.
  • What is your role? In most cases, the writer may find being a spectator as the most comfortable role to take on for the observational essay. This choice is reasonable for several reasons, but the most important one is that, as an observer, you can really get to concentrate on taking detailed notes at a given moment, rather than recalling information later on (it would likely be the case if you were a participant). Although, writing as a participant may take place in many situations where the choice is really unavoidable. For instance, if you wanted to write an observational essay on your brother's graduation or something of this sort, it would really be difficult not to 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 might have on the surrounding environment, event, or the person being analyzed.
  • Note down in detail. It is one of the most important steps for this particular writing (as your notes are your paper for the most part). The primary purpose of an observation essay is to describe an idea, event or object as vividly as possible. You should do that because, while reading your essay, the person will be able to imagine that he or she is the observer. The exact order in which things occurred is also important when observing an event taking place.
  • Use the first-person singular pronoun. In most essays, it is forbidden, but in the observation essay, it is often recommended to use "I." However, before launching into the writing phase, doublecheck the requirements for any specific instruction regarding pronouns.
  • Using the present tense. It is better to write in the present when you describe a person, animal or place that you observe. But what to do if everything happened in the past? Don't worry, just imagine that it is taking place right now in front of you. By using present indefinite or progressive, you can help the reader put themselves into your shoes and experience the things you experienced.
  • Make the most of the sensory details. When appropriately conveyed, every little fragment of the object can add significantly to the whole picture you're "painting." You should engage all the senses: smells, sounds, images, colors, and shapes. All those little puzzle pieces should eventually add up to a full-scale, vivid picture.
  • Using accurate language. To make the reader feel like he or she is the observer is what every writer desires. In this case, a vivid description is the best option. Instead of writing that there was some noise, you should describe the sound in great detail using appropriate adjectives. For example, the noise can be mute, suppressed, resonance, sonorous, etc. That way the reader will be able to see a better picture.

What is the best way to start an observation essay?

When it comes to the structure, the observation paper does not have any strict rules you must follow. That is another reason why some find this type easier than, for instance, expository writing assignments. Nonetheless, you should start off by introducing your topic, answering general questions about the environmental conditions of your observation (the place, purpose, methods, etc.)

It is evident that the beginning of the essay should grab the attention of your audience. The first few sentences have to invoke interest and make the person want to go on reading. Writing an observation essay introduction is a very responsibility-demanding part of your task. Hence, it would be better to read some tips that might help you start with confidence. There are a few ways you could go about the introduction. We will take a closer look at 5 most commonly used ones:

  1. Provide a brief review of the whole essay. It will be the reader's guide showing the direction. Also, a short explanation of the essay's aim can indicate whether the reader's expectations will be justified.
  2. Open your essay with an anecdote. However, it is very risky because not every person might get it. You should also put your argument in the context because it will be simpler for the reader to see your point.
  3. Start with a question. But, you need to be certain that it is strongly associated with your topic. Also, this strategy lets you decide whether to give the answer yourself or leave it open-ended.
  4. Use a peculiar fact. If there is an interesting theory that encouraged you to conduct your observation, you can use it at the beginning of your paper. Given that it waken your interest, it might also work the same way on your audience.
  5. "Clickbaits" in essays? Yes, it's not a typo, but here, it is more of a cliffhanger than clickbait. You probably hate when they end an episode with something shocking and put the "to be continued" caption, right? You can do something similar in the introduction section of your paper and reveal the findings the end.

Lastly, do not forget to include your observation essay thesis statement in the introductory section. Keep in mind that it is not your title, but rather the central idea of the paper. In an observation essay, this key sentence might take the form of the general impression (or perception) you got from the entire process.

Writing the body of an observation essay

All your observations should be described in detail in the body paragraphs. Make sure that your text is coherent, linear and written in the present tense. The sounds, colors, images and smells should be accurately conveyed because (as it was stated before) the purpose of your task is to allow the reader to go through your own experience vicariously.

Ending an observation essay properly

In your observation essay conclusion, you should write briefly about your observations and personal thoughts. You can explain what those observations mean to you (or might mean to the reader) or why it is important to make such kind of observations. To engage the reader more, you can ask a few questions to encourage a further discussion of the topic. Also, based on how you begin your essay, your ending can change. For example, if you use the "cliffhanger," you must wrap it up here, in conclusion. If you pose a question, you might want to give your own answer at the end of your essay.

Observation essay outline writing tips

Firstly, you should be familiar with the object or experience the event that you are describing in the essay at least once in your life. However, it will be more convincing if you observed something more than several times.

Depending on the subject that is being observed, you may decide to lay out the information in (a) the order it occurred, (b) according to what you consider to be essential, or you may decide to even (c) organize it in the form of a narrative. One of the things that might significantly influence your organizational structure is the subject that you've examined and the audience that you are preparing the essay for (Which structure will work best for them?).

For example, you choose a topic "How sugar affects our brain." The best way to observe that is to eat sugar on a daily basis or exclude it from your diet monitoring your health and making notes about changes that occur in your body. In the introduction, you can make a claim that sugar can create either a detrimental or beneficial effect on the human body. In the central paragraphs, you can mention all your observations, such as how it tastes, how you feel, how your behavior changes (whether you are depressed or happy), etc. In the conclusion section, you should sum up all the information, expressing your own thoughts concerning this experiment and explaining what value it has for others.

20 Good observation essay topics

What should I choose to observe? This is the first question you face before writing this type of essay. It is essential to pick something that wouldn't put you to sleep if you were to observe it.

Here, you can find 20 compelling observation essay ideas we handpicked for you:

  1. Why do people become shopaholics?
  2. Why do students skip classes?
  3. How do video games affect the human brain?
  4. Why do some people become jealous?
  5. Do sports help develop leadership qualities?
  6. Can music replace some pills?
  7. Why do people always want to earn more and more money?
  8. Are communication skills important nowadays?
  9. What did it feel like getting a tattoo?
  10. Is driving a car difficult?
  11. Is traveling by plane the safest way?
  12. What did it feel like Couchsurfing for the first time?
  13. Does a child's future depend on parenting?
  14. Climate change: observations.
  15. Jumping with a parachute. My first experience.
  16. How I met a dangerous animal in the forest.
  17. My experience of traveling abroad alone.
  18. How your enemy can become the best friend.
  19. How does a new generation of children differ from the previous one?
  20. Why do people become ill more often nowadays?

Writing an observation essay takes a lot of time and requires your utmost attentiveness. However, it might be a really exciting process if you select a non-trivial topic. There is a massive amount of things to explore. Your task is to start an observation, write down all the information and enjoy the result. Although, if you think of it as a somewhat arduous thing to do, you should consider ordering it from us! We can save you lots of time, effort and guarantee excellent results.

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