SOCI 111 – Introduction to Sociology American Public University System

SOCI 111 – Introduction to Sociology
American Public University System

Homework Assignment 1: Observation
Due on by midnight the Sunday of Week 3 – submit using link in Sakai AND using www.turnitin.com

A norm is a social rule. There are many norms that help to frame how we are supposed to behave in our daily lives, one example is gender norms (what are social rules we follow to ‘be masculine’ and to ‘be feminine’); another example is standing in line (consider what would happen if you cut everyone in line at 8am in a Starbucks?).

Note: it is important that you conduct the observations and norm breaking during this class; ‘recalling’ past observations is not the same as purposefully observing your surroundings from a sociological perspective.

In essay format, complete steps 1 through 6 below.

1. Consider the video from week 2 and assigned reading to this point –

a. Define norm

b. List two norms you tend to observe in everyday life.

The purpose of this exercise if for you to observe ONE social setting to begin to detect patterns in human behavior – observance of norms and potentially behaviors that deviate from the norm. This week’s exercise includes two parts. First, you will need to go to ONE public place and observe the people there for 25 minutes. Note people’s behavior, their demeanor, their reactions/interactions to/with each other. Second, you will break a norm and observe people’s reactions to your norm breaking behavior.

2. Identify the norm you are going to break. (**this should not include breaking the law**)

3. Choose a time and location for when you are going to conduct your observations

4. Go to the specified location and proceed with your observations.

a. You must also be a keen social observer; a ‘peeping Tom’ in the sociological sense. Take handwritten (recommended) and/or mental notes of:

i. details about your chosen location (time of day, lighting, furniture, plants, sounds, temperature, smell, vibe/energy, etc)

ii. the people around you, not only their behavior but general information about their sociodemographic characteristics (age, race/ethnicity, gender, SES, etc);

iii. your thoughts and feelings while observing may be a brief section of the paper.

b. After observing your social setting for 25 minutes, you will now go about your norm- breaking

i. note: if your norm-breaking includes changing your visible appearance, you will need to conduct your general observations, and observations when breaking your norm, at two different times.

ii. The setting and timing of your norm-breaking behavior will vary, but carefully observe people’s reactions to you during your norm breaking for a minimum of 10 minutes. (the longer the better)

5. Write a 2 – 4 page reaction paper about your observations and norm breaking. Your paper should include

a. Norm definition, examples of two norms, and norm you chose to broke

b. a ‘thick description’ of the location (i.e. building you were in (what is the architecture like), descriptions of people there (in terms of socio-demographic characteristics: age, race/ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status), sounds, smells, temperature, time of day and week, etc);

c. clear detail of your observations;

d. analysis of your observations using at least FOUR sociological concepts from the readings so far

i. this should include clearly identifying the concept you are going to use, defining the concept using the text, and then applying the concept to your observation

1. because you will be paraphrasing or directly quoting from another source, you will need to use APA-formatting with in-text citations and full references to give your sources proper credit (otherwise it is plagiarism). See APA citation tips under Resources>Materials and Resources folder for more detail.

e. a discussion of your experience of the situation. For example you might write how you felt when you started to detect a pattern in sociodemographic characteristics and/or behavior.

f. A discussion of your norm breaking behavior, how people reacted (or didn’t), how you felt, etc.

6. The paper should be typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, arial or times new roman 11 pt font, and saved as .doc, .rtf or .pdf in the format: lastname_SOCI111_HW1.doc

Grading Rubric

CATEGORY Outstanding Above Average Average Below Average Unacceptable
Observation Description Provided thick description of observations with a lot of detail about social setting and socio-demographic characteristics of people observed (5 pts) Needed some elaboration on either social setting or socio-demographic characteristics of people observed (4 pts) Need significantly more detail about social setting or socio-demographic characteristics observed; or some elaboration on both. (3.5pts) Summary of observations lacks detail overall. (3pt) No summary of norm breaking behavior included (0-2pts)
Sociological Concepts Identified Clearly identified 4 relevant sociological concepts from the readings. (3 pts) Clearly identified 3 relevant sociological concepts from the readings, one not clearly identified. (2.4 pts) Clearly identified 2 relevant sociological concepts from the readings. (2.1 pts) Clearly identified 1 relevant sociological concepts from the readings. (1.8 pts) Did not clearly identify any sociological concepts (0-1.5 pts)
Sociological Concepts Defined Clearly defined 4 relevant sociological concepts using the text and/or other source(s). (3 pts) Clearly defined 3relevant sociological concepts using the text and/or other source(s); 1 not clearly defined. (2.4 pts) Clearly defined 2 relevant sociological concepts using the text and/or other source(s). (2.1 pts) Clearly defined 1 relevant sociological concepts using the text and/or other source(s). (1.8 pts) Did not include text definitions of sociological concepts (0-1.5 pts)
Analysis Clearly applied 4 relevant sociological concepts to analysis of the current event. (3 pts) Clearly applied 3 relevant sociological concepts to analysis of the observation, one not clearly applied to analysis. (2.4 pts) Clearly applied 2 relevant sociological concepts to analysis of the observation. (2.1 pts) Clearly applied 1 relevant sociological concepts to analysis of the observation. (1.8 pts) Did not apply sociological concepts to analysis of observation. (0-1.5 pts)
Reflection Included discussion of your experience of the situation (2pts) 1.6 pt Need to elaborate on your experience of the situation (1.4 pt) 1.2 pt No discussion of your experience of the situation (0-1 pts)
Description of norm breaking behavior and observations Provided thick description of norm breaking behavior and observations people and their reactions including socio-demographic characteristics (4 pts) Needed some elaboration on either norm breaking behavior and observations people and their reactions including socio-demographic characteristics (3.2 pts) Need significantly more detail about norm breaking behavior and observations people and their reactions including socio-demographic characteristics; or some elaboration on both. (2.8 pts) Summary of norm breaking behavior and observations lacks detail overall. (2.4 pt) No summary of norm breaking behavior or observations included (0-2 pts)
APA Formatted Citations Included APA formatted in-text citations and full references for ALL paraphrased and quoted work from other sources. (3 pts) Minor errors in APA formatting of citations. (2.4 pts) Multiple errors in APA formatting of citations. (2.1 pt) Missing some citations, and errors in APA formatting. (1.8 pts) No citations included. (0-1 pts)
Grammar & Spelling Author makes no errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content. (2 pts) Author makes a couple errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content. (1.6 pts) Author makes a few errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content. (1.4 pt) Author makes multiple errors in grammar or spelling that distract the reader from the content. (1.2 pts) Authors makes so many errors in grammar and spelling that the intent of the paper can not be understood. (0-1 pts)

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