PSYC 312 – An Observation Lab During the Start of COVID-19

Link to PSYC 312 Observation Lab

Submitted by

Elizabeth Arenivar-Kennedy


I wrote this paper during the end of Winter 2020 Semester at the Medicine Hat College In my Research Methods in Social Sciences class. This class was such a great experience. I had fun writing it because I am working to become a social scientist and this was a very unique opportunity to create something that has historical context. Here are a couple excerpts to preview!

“In order to gain experience in the field of research, our Research Methods in Social Sciences class completed a three-hour observation. At the beginning, the plan was to observe different locations within the Vera Bracken Library. The objective was to record detailed notes discreetly on the behaviors of people around us. This was to understand how the library within a college campus was being utilized by the occupants. There are 8 students that have 24 hours of observations time (3 hours for each student). The initial objective started on March 8th, 2020 and ended March 12th, 2020. There were 5 hours of observation in the library by 3 different students. However, our objective changed due to an announcement by the Federal Government of Canada and the Provincial Government of Alberta. The World Health Organization announced a world-wide pandemic due to the outbreak of Covid-19 (Corona Virus).”

“Throughout analyzing the findings from the student’s observation notes, there is a sense of a transition forming, to and from locations. From the first objective, to observe the MHV Vera Bracken Library on a regular day, within the tail-end of the winter semester as it was, before the pandemic. There is a cultural shift taking place worldwide and the students here have recorded rare data that was observed without any intention to be recorded. Until we had no choice, but to get creative and find our own direction for this big final research project. A project that brought data showing the everyday life of college students, working hard on their studies, utilizing the printers, the large tables that gave just enough space to occupy, the difference in temperature in certain area, the laughter of students socializing and entertaining themselves, the sense of a calmness in the library when everyone is silent and all you hear is faint music being enjoyed by another person quietly focusing on their studies. At this point in time the sense of safety within the college is stable. Then suddenly, Student A is in the parking lot witnessing an empty college on a Monday, near the end of the semester where normally this is the time of year students are frantic and rushing to prepare for finals and occupying the college. No, it’s practically empty, all that is heard are the geese roaming around and the sound of vehicles driving by on the highway.”


Elizabeth Arenivar-Kennedy

Creation Date

April 2, 2020


Medicine Hat

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