Write an observation essay that explains the unique significance of a community, place, or group. Describe the community, place, or group through vivid description, narration, dialogue and sensory details. Help others outside of your community understand the unique values of the community, place, or group.
Observation, as the CEL describes it, requires writers to “study their subjects and learn something by seeing them in a particular way” (93). Observation essays do more than just report facts: they also “find the hidden meaning, the significant issues, and the important aspects of a particular subject” (93).
Your purpose in this Observation Essay is to convey the significance of a particular community, place, or group through details that show how the subject “fits” within the community’s priorities and values. Your descriptions and details should make it easy for someone unfamiliar with your community, place, or group to understand why the community, place, or group you chose is relevant and significant to the community.
*Note: although this essay is intended to be based in recent, firsthand observations, you may write from recent memories instead if you are restricted in travel and mobility during the COVID pandemic. If you are writing from memories, try to recreate scenes and descriptions as though you are seeing them again for the first time.
As you look back over your observations and notes, remember that your essay should do more than simply relate details without any larger significance. Your observation of the community, place, or group should also draw out the unique, interesting, and special qualities of the community, place, or group.
Caution: Please keep in mind that writing in this class is public, and anything you write about may be shared with other students and instructors. Please only write about details that you are comfortable making public within our classroom community. You should know that your teacher is required by the State of Texas (Links to an external site.) to report any suspected incidents of discrimination, harassment, Title IX sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct to the UNT Title IX coordinators. If you have any questions about anything personal that you might want to disclose, email your teacher first or consult with one of the resources listed on this page: Information on Sexual Violence and Mandatory Reporting.
Format and Length
- Format: Typed, double-spaced, submitted as a word-processing document.
12 point, text-weight font, 1-inch margins.
- Length: 1000 – 1250 words (approx. 4-5 pages)
- Value: This project will be graded out of 100 possible points, and will be part of the Unit 2 Project group, worth 20% of the grade for the course.
- Overview: For this writing project, you will use firsthand observations and discoveries to write about a community, place, or group. Using details from your observations (or from recent memories), you will describe the community, place, or group their/its unique values and significance.