How To Start An Observation Essay

How To Start An Observation Essay

Observation essays are a unique genre of academic writing that allows you to delve deeper into various subjects, events, or theories. By closely watching and analyzing certain phenomena, you can gain valuable insights and present them to your readers in an engaging and informative way.

Before you begin writing your observation essay, there are several important steps you need to take in order to ensure your essay is effective and well-structured. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with all the necessary information and tips to help you start your observation essay on the right foot.

1. Choose an interesting and specific subject: The first step in starting your observation essay is to choose a subject or event that is both interesting to you and has enough details and nuances to make your essay engaging.

2. Conduct thorough research: Once you have chosen your subject, spend some time researching it. Read papers, books, or articles related to the topic to get a better understanding of what has already been written and what gaps you can fill with your own observations.

3. Prepare yourself: Before you start your observation, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for and what questions you want to answer. This will help you stay focused and motivated during the observation process.

4. Take notes: As you observe your subject or event, make sure to take detailed notes. Write down everything you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. These notes will serve as a valuable resource when you start writing your essay.

5. Organize your thoughts: Once your observation is complete, it’s time to organize your thoughts and findings. Create an outline or a rough draft of your essay, arranging your observations in a logical and clear order.

7. Play with perspective: In an observation essay, you have the freedom to play with your perspective. You can write from a first-person point of view and share your personal experience, or you can take a more objective approach and present your observations without any personal bias.

8. Use vivid and descriptive language: To help your reader visualize what you observed, use vivid and descriptive language. Paint a clear picture with your words and make your observations come to life.

9. Provide evidence and examples: In order to make your observations more convincing and informative, it’s important to back them up with evidence and examples. Use specific details and real-life examples to support your claims.

10. Proofread and edit: Once you have written your observation essay, don’t forget to proofread and edit it. Check for any grammar or spelling mistakes, and ensure that your essay flows smoothly and coherently.

By following these steps and employing some suggestions, you can start your observation essay confidently and present your observations in a clear, engaging, and effective manner.

Choosing a Subject for Observation Essay

One way to find the perfect subject is by choosing a topic that you are already familiar with or have a personal connection to. This familiarity will help you in observing the subject and capturing its essence in your essay. For example, if you have a keen interest in fashion, you can focus on observing the fashion choices and styles of people around you. This personal connection will not only keep you motivated throughout the writing process but also help you in describing the subject with more accuracy.

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Another approach is to select a subject based on a theory or concept that you want to explore. For instance, if you are interested in child development, you can observe a classroom or an event involving children and analyze their behavior and interactions. By having a specific theory or concept in mind, you can make your observation essay more focused and structured.

Once you have chosen a subject, it is important to consider its qualities and traits. You can ask yourself questions like: What are the specific qualities or characteristics of the subject? What makes it interesting or unique? What aspects of the subject would you like to explore in your essay? By thinking about these questions, you can gain a better understanding of the subject and focus your observation on the most relevant aspects.

While observing the subject, it is important to pay attention to the details. Use descriptive devices like metaphors, similes, and imagery to paint a vivid picture for your readers. For example, instead of simply saying “he wore pants,” you can say “he wore straight-leg black pants that complemented his fashionable taste.” Such descriptive language will help your readers visualize the subject and make your observation essay more engaging.

Moreover, during the observation, make sure to focus on the events and situations that are happening around the subject. Take note of any interesting interactions, conversations, or behaviors that you observe. These details will provide valuable insights and add depth to your essay.

Lastly, when organizing your essay, ensure that it flows logically and follows proper organization principles. Each paragraph should have a clear focus and contribute to the overall understanding of the subject. Use transitional devices like “once,” “when,” and “while” to guide your readers from one paragraph to another smoothly.

Preparing for the Observation

1. Research and Familiarize Yourself

Before you begin your observation, it is essential to gather as much information as possible about the topic or subject you will be observing. This will allow you to have a good understanding of what to expect and make your observation more meaningful.

For example, if you are planning to observe a factory that produces hand-sewn dresses, you should research about the processes involved, the types of dresses being made, and any other relevant information. This will help you have a clear idea of what to look for and observe during your visit to the factory.

2. Plan Your Observation

A successful observation essay is well organized and properly structured. Therefore, it is important to plan out your observation before you start writing. Think about the main points or topics you wish to address in your essay and arrange them in a logical order.

For instance, you could divide your essay into different sections, such as the description of the factory, the workers’ experiences, the dresses being made, or the overall organization and efficiency of the factory. This will help you maintain focus and ensure a smooth flow in your essay.

3. Take Notes

While you are observing, always have a notebook and pen handy to jot down your thoughts, observations, and any important details. This will help you remember specific details later on and ensure that your essay is accurate and descriptive.

For example, you could write down the specific sewing techniques, the number of workers in each department, or any interesting conversations you overheard. These notes will serve as valuable references when you start drafting your essay.

4. Stay Objective

As an observer, it is crucial to stay objective and unbiased in your writing. While it is important to present your personal experience and thoughts, avoid making generalizations or expressing personal beliefs unless required.

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For instance, instead of saying “Everyone in the factory lacks motivation,” it would be more appropriate to provide examples or specific instances where you observed a lack of motivation among some workers. This way, your observation will be more credible and fair to all parties involved.

5. Engage with the Environment

To have a more immersive observation experience, engage with the environment and the people you are observing. Take the time to interact with individuals, ask questions, and try to understand their perspective and experiences.

For instance, you could ask the workers about their years of experience in the factory or how they feel about their work. These interactions will provide you with valuable insights and add a personal touch to your observation essay.

Introducing the Observation Essay

For example, imagine you are at a fairgrounds with your family. You notice a group of children playing around a carousel. To make your observation essay more appealing and attractive to the reader, you would need to focus on describing the event and the individuals involved. This can be achieved by paying close attention to the details.

1. Start with a Good Paragraph

The first paragraph of your observation essay is essential as it sets the tone and introduces the reader to the event or object you are describing. To make a proper start, try writing a clear and straight to the point thesis statement that gives the reader an idea of what to expect from your essay. For example, in the case of the fairgrounds observation, your thesis could be, “The vibrant atmosphere and the joyful atmosphere at the fairgrounds make it a perfect place for families to spend their day.”

2. Observe and Take Notes

To properly describe the event or object you are observing, it is important to keep your focus and be attentive. Take notes of the details that catch your attention, such as how the children are dressed and how the carousel looks. Write down these observations in a draft and categorize them into paragraphs. For example, in the fairgrounds observation essay, you could have paragraphs dedicated to describing the children’s fashion, the carousel itself, and the overall impression of the event.

3. Edit and Arrange Your Descriptions

After you have collected your observations, it is essential to edit and arrange them in a logical and cohesive manner. Start with a strong opening paragraph that grabs the attention of the reader, then move on to the body paragraphs where you describe the event or object in detail.

To make your observations more engaging, always keep the reader in mind and consider their perspective. Think of what qualities make an observation essay attractive, informative, and enjoyable to read. For example, instead of simply stating that the children were dressed in fashionable clothes, you could describe how their latest fashion trends stood out among the crowd at the fairgrounds. This approach is more likely to captivate the reader and give them a clear image of the event or object you observed.

4. Concluding the Observation Essay

To conclude your observation essay, provide a summary of your main points and end your essay on a strong and memorable note. For example, in the fairgrounds observation, you could highlight the joy and laughter of the children, the colorful fashion trends, and the overall lively atmosphere that made the event unforgettable.

Remember that while a good observation essay requires you to be detailed and descriptive, it is also important to keep your writing concise and organized. By following these principles, you can make your observation essay a captivating and informative piece that leaves a lasting impression on the readers.

Captivating the Reader with Engaging Descriptions

For example, imagine yourself pushing a stroller through a crowded fairground. As you make your way through the throngs of people, you find a clear spot where you can take a moment to observe. Looking around, you see children eagerly lining up for the latest ride, the sweet aroma of cotton candy filling the air, and the sound of laughter and excitement echoing from all directions.

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In this situation, you might start your essay by describing the scene in a way that grabs the reader’s attention. Instead of simply stating, “I visited the fairgrounds and saw children lining up for rides,” you could say, “As I pushed the stroller through the bustling fairgrounds, I was immediately impressed by the sight of children eagerly lining up for the latest rides, their excitement shining in their eyes.” By offering specific details and painting a vivid picture, you can draw the reader in and make them feel like they are experiencing the event themselves.

Another way to engage the reader is by employing thought-provoking descriptions that challenge common stereotypes or preconceived notions. For instance, if you are observing an agriculture fair, you could start by stating that statistics often depict farmers as simple, hardworking individuals. However, as you closely observe the events and make your way through the exhibits, you find yourself impressed by the level of expertise and innovation on display. This challenges the generalization and gives the reader a fresh perspective on the topic.

When it comes to describing what you observe, it is important to focus on specific details rather than generalizing or relying on theories. By properly using descriptive language and vivid imagery, you allow the reader to envision the scene and share in your experience. Remember to proofread your essay carefully to ensure that it flows smoothly and achieves its purpose of engaging the reader.

Tips for Starting an Observation Essay Properly

Starting an observation essay can be a challenging task, especially if you are not sure where to begin. In order to create an effective and engaging essay, there are several tips you can follow to ensure you start off on the right foot.

1. Choose a Specific Focus

Before you begin writing your observation essay, it is important to determine the specific focus of your essay. This will help guide your observations and ensure that you have a clear purpose for your essay. For example, you may choose to focus on observing a specific social group, a particular event, or a specific location.

2. Take Detailed Notes

While observing your chosen subject, it is crucial to take detailed notes. This will help you remember specific details and observations when it comes time to write your essay. Be sure to record both objective observations, such as what you see and hear, as well as your subjective thoughts and feelings during the observation process.

3. Use Concrete Examples

In order to make your observation essay more engaging and informative, use concrete examples to support your observations. Instead of making general statements, provide specific examples or anecdotes that illustrate your points. This will help bring your observations to life and make your essay more interesting to read.

4. Organize Your Essay

5. Edit and Proofread

After writing your observation essay, take the time to edit and proofread your work. Look for any grammatical or spelling errors, as well as any areas where the writing could be improved. By thoroughly editing your essay, you can ensure that it is well-written and free from errors.

By following these tips, you can start your observation essay properly and create a compelling and well-structured piece of writing. Remember to always stay focused on your observations, provide concrete examples, and edit your work for a polished final result.


How many paragraphs should the body of an observation essay have?

The body of an observation essay should have three paragraphs.

What should be included in the three-paragraph body of an observation essay?

The three-paragraph body of an observation essay should include specific details, vivid descriptions, personal reflections, and supporting evidence. These paragraphs should provide a comprehensive view of the observed subject.

What is the purpose of the body paragraphs in an observation essay?

The body paragraphs in an observation essay serve to provide detailed information about the observed subject. They should paint a vivid picture for the reader by utilizing sensory details and personal reflections.

How can I make my observation essay more engaging?

To make your observation essay more engaging, try to use descriptive language, sensory details, and personal anecdotes. Additionally, consider incorporating dialogue or quotes from individuals you observed to further enhance the reader’s experience.

Alex Koliada, PhD

By Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for studying aging, genetics, and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics. His scientific research has been published in the most reputable international magazines. Alex holds a BA in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Southern California, and a TEFL certification from The Boston Language Institute.