This method of fact-finding requires the analyst to participate in performing some activities carried out the user. The analyst may choose to watch as the users perform their activities and gather the facts intended. Guidelines when using observation include:
o There should be permission from concerned authorities before this exercise.
o Gathered facts should be recorded.
o Those to be observed should be notified and the purpose of the exercise explained.
o The analyst should be objective and avoid personal opinion. He should have an open mind.
o The analyst should record ordinary events.
Observation is best used in the following circumstances:
o When the validity of facts gathered through other methods is questionable.
o When the complexity of certain aspects of a system prevent a clear explanation the respondents or user.
o Used to confirm that the procedures specified in the manual are being followed.
p When one needs to obtain first hand and reliable information.