Shadowing Authour:Jen Recknagel
Edited by Christine Keene


Contextualized information about how, when and why people act is needed to generate understanding of human need and to develop meaningful insights for innovation. Traditional observation and diary studies do not provide the same depth of contextual information or detail about purpose that is achieved through the shadowing method.


Shadowing provides a rich, comprehensive data set about the patterns of actions, interdependence and motivations of users. Observation is enhanced with information about mood, body language, pace and timing in order to give a full picture of the world from the user’s point of view.


Shadowing originated out of 1950’s Management Studies and Henry Minzberg’s 1970’s iterations on structured observation.

Use When

This methodology is used when exploring a research domain to gain a rich understanding of user/customer/employee motivation and to capture what people do and not what they say they do. Shadowing can be conducted over long periods of time if budget and schedule allow, or applied more rapidly to gain a quick understanding of a problem.

Use For

Shadowing is used to gain understanding of an individual’s behaviour, opinions and drivers as well as to understand a person’s role and paths through an organization or interactions with other objects or people in a given setting. It is used in organizational change assessment, product marketing or positioning, and experience and service design.


1) More Info Domain and Demographics – Locate the right venue to research and the appropriate person(s) within that venue to follow. This period could also involve preliminary research into the roles, language/terminology used and issues at hand.

2) Secure Access – This is a critical step, as it could take as long to gain access as it does to complete the entire shadowing period. Access needs to be as unrestricted as possible and could involve contacting third parties for proper permissions.

3) mail d'accroche site de rencontre Develop Trust – The goal of shadowing is to gain insider status. Once you have been given access, the researcher must create a healthy rapport with the person being shadowed. If the participant does not feel comfortable, critical information could be missed. This method involves a great deal of trust, and the researcher must continually work at managing the relationship throughout the shadowing period.

4) over at this website Shadowing – The researcher closely follows an individual over a set period of time while writing an almost-continuous set of field notes. The researcher asks frequent questions for clarification and prompts the participant to give a running commentary on his or her actions and choices.

5) Record – The researcher records and compiles the field notes from the shadow period and adds debriefing notes to maintain freshness of experience. If the shadow period continues over multiple shifts or days, debriefing must be done after each immersion.

6) site de rencontre gratuit et non payant Analysis – The researcher analyzes the large data set that has been accumulated during the shadowing period. There is some debate as to whether qualitative research software should be used to facilitate this process or if it would be ineffective at capturing the nuisances and detailed nature of this method. Methods of data summary and presentation could include storyboarding, narratives and persona/character sketches.

cele mai bune site-uri de dating Examples:
Two case studies detailing the process and application of shadowing are:

Vukic, A and Keddy, B. (2002.) Northern nursing practice in a primary health care setting. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 40(5), 542-548.

Gilliat-Ray, S. (2011). Being there: the experience of shadowing a British Muslim Hospital chaplain. Qualitative Research, 11(5), 469–486


Czarniawska, B. (2007). Shadowing: And Other Techniques for Doing Fieldwork in Modern Societies. Copenhagen: Liber, Copenhagen Business School Press.

McDonald, S. (2005). Studying actions in context: A qualitative shadowing method for organizational research. Qualitative Research, 5(4), 455-473.

Quinlan, E. (2008). Conspicuous Invisibility: Shadowing as a Data Collection Strategy. Qualitative Inquiry, 14, 1480-1499.