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Union University Center for Faculty Development
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Teaching & Advising > Group Work

Group Observation Sheet

You will shortly be observing the behavior of a group engaging in an assigned fishbowl activity.  Here are some things you may wish to look for:

  1. Getting started.

  • Was the group clear about its task?  If not, did the participants attempt to redefine it?

  • What method or procedures did they use to attack the problem?

  • How was the method adopted?  Through the insistence of one dominant person? By group consensus (that is, talking it through without voting)?  By voting?  By default?

  1. Group behavior.

  • What was the energy/enthusiasm level of the group?

  • Was there high interest in the problem?

  • What was the participation pattern?  Did some play it safe and hold back?  Did all participate with adequate consistency?  Was there a dominator?  Did people really listen to one another?  Did anyone interrupt others consistently?

  • What was the trust level in the group?  Did members share feelings openly?  Were members supportive (did they show concern, caring, etc.) of one another?

  • Was the group marked by high esprit de corps, cohesion?

  • Was there a leader in the group?  If so, did this leader help or hinder progress?

  1. Decision making.

  • Was a decision reached? If so, how?

  • Was the decision arrived at through consensus, bulldozing, voting, bargaining, or what?

  • Were members satisfied with the decision?

Source: Julius E. Eitington. The Winning Trainer, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002.

"The way to be confortable is not by having our barns filled, but our minds quiet."
-Thomas Watson, 17th century English, non-conformist, Puritan preacher