Fieldwork Papers

Submitted By tbatterham
Words: 1134
Pages: 5

Tyler Batterham
Ellen Lewin
27 March 2015
Fieldwork Paper For my fieldwork paper I decided to spend some time observing in a place a lot of people go everyday, the library. I chose the library primarily because it isn’t too unusual to see someone just sitting there, not really doing anything and also because regardless of the time of day, the library is always full of different individuals I could observe. The diversity of people in the library would be more beneficial for me to get a better picture of the university in comparison to observing in a dining hall or a dorm lobby whereas the population would likely consist only of first year students. I did two observations at the library, one on the first floor in the Learning Commons, and another on the 4th and 5th floors. What I discovered is that at the library, people are usually doing one of two things, studying or socializing and there were places where each was more prevalent than other areas of the library. The people who were socializing, were usually found on the first floor in the Learning Commons, and there were more people studying on the 4th and 5th floor than on the first floor. I observed on Wednesday but on different weeks because I know that the amount of people in the library changes depending on what day it is and I wanted to keep it as consistent as possible. The first week I observed in the Learning Commons for about an hour and a half. I decided that I should move around to different places so that I could see as many people and activities as possible. When I was sitting by the Washington St. entrance, I noticed a great amount of people being unproductive, and misusing the main purpose of the library as a place to study and do weekly homework. There were numerous people that were watching videos on YouTube, scrolling through Facebook, or just playing on their phones. Being guilty of this behavior myself, I was never fully aware of how this behavior may look in the eye of someone else. Considering the fact that these individuals are at the library, it is likely they do intend to use their time wisely and be productive, yet have been distracted by different things. It is also important to note that I sat in each spot for around half an hour and with every place I moved to, I observed the same behavior. As time passed, I noticed that the people were still preoccupied with the different social media sites; therefore, I knew it wasn’t simply a study break, but a way for them to continue and be unproductive. Another thing that I noticed on the first floor was that there were a lot more people that were in groups rather than sitting alone. The activities in the groups varied from people doing group projects, to groups of friends doing their respective homework, to groups of people who were just socializing. The interesting fact I discovered as I observed the people who were sitting in groups, was that the more productive work was getting done. In my personal opinion, I expected the people sitting in groups to be less productive, but discovered the opposite. Seeing the chaotic environment on the first floor of the library, I was surprised to see this behavior occur in the group study. The setting in the Learning Commons is actually quite conductive to socializing. The setting is more on the casual side with confortable chairs, bright colors, and large open spaces that is congruent with todays more modern designs. The second place I observed was the 4th and 5th floor study areas. Unlike on the first floor, I observed in each spot longer, for about an hour at a time. I didn’t move around as much because for the most part, the top floors of the library are almost exclusively desks that are in the book stacks so each place is moderately similar. The only spaces on the top floors that aren’t desks in books stacks are in the hallways, where there are armchairs and tables lining the walls. It was interesting to see the contrast between the two places