Observation is neither neutral or objective

imageOne of the grand delusions of Safety observations and behaviourism are that observations are objective. They are not!

Here are some critical questions one should consider when thinking about safety observations:

  1. What are you observing?
  2. Who are you observing?
  3. Do they know you are observing them?
  4. Is your observation ethical?
  5. On what foundation are you making observational judgements?
  6. What is your hermeneutic? Theory of interpretation?
  7. What motivates you to do this observation?
  8. What is your perception filter?
  9. What bias frames what you see?
  10. What experience, knowledge and skills to you bring to your observation?
  11. Are you trained in how to observe?
  12. Have you studied the nature of perception?
  13. How do you know your perception is reliable?
  14. Do you entertain doubt in your perceptions?
  15. Do you seek clarity and conversation with the observer before making judgement?
  16. What primes have preceded your observation?
  17. How has context and environment contributed toward your observational bias?
  18. Have you consulted others about your perceptions?
  19. What expertise and learning in psychology do you bring to the observation?
  20. What do you know about people, persons and why people do what they do?

If questions like these have not been considered then you’re probably NOT doing observation, it’s just surveillance.

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