Writing Field Notes on School Choice Field Visit

Please take detailed notes as you attend the school choice event.  Plan to attend the Expo/fair for at least one hour.

  1. What are things you should be looking for?
  • description of the physical space, layout of the structure, posters
  • who is there? racial/gender makeup of parents and school staff
  • what are the interactions with school representatives and parents like- passive handing out information, asking questions
  • – what kinds of questions get asked? (extracurriculars, clubs/sports, average SAT/AP classes, transportation, school theme – who is asking about what types of things?)
  • What things are unsaid?
  • who has the responsibility for giving/getting information?
  • try to avoid making assumptions about parents – (eg. don’t assume someone’s socio-economic background based on race…)
  • how much familiarity do people appear to have with the school choice process?

2. What are some strategies for interacting with parents/school staff?

  •  ask a parent if you can follow them
  • pick one booth and hang out there
  • spread out
  • hypothetical parental identity

3. Techniques for writing up field notes:

  • observe at the time, don’t try and write up notes then go somewhere and write up.
  • If you want to write up some initial thoughts, include a reflections section separate from the observations.

4. What should you include in your field notes? What shouldn’t you include in field notes? Strategies for effectively describing people, interactions, etc?

Link to post field notes https://goo.gl/oFYH7P.