Taking the First Steps into the Field In this chapter I discuss the initial stages in conducting observational research. Whether you are motivated to undertake an observational study for practical or scientifi c reasons, the “specifi cs” of the observational process per se remain unfi nished until you actually enter the fi eld. No matter how well formulated your ideas may be, those ideas must interface with the specifi c situations in which you will observe, and the degree to which your initial plan needs revisions is related to the level of your pre-planning.