Last Sociology Assignment
October 18, 2020
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October 18, 2020

Unstructured Observations at Starbucks Store and Local Grocery Store Paper

OBJECTIVE: To experience conducting unstructured, non-participant observation and compare different note-taking strategies.

You will conduct three separate unstructured observations in public spaces. Each observation will be 15 minutes in duration and conducted in a different location. At each location, you will conduct unstructured observations and practice focussing on people, place, actions and interactions – as relevant to the purpose of your observations. Depending on your purpose, you may focus more on one aspect than others, but all three areas should be included in each observation. Your observations should focus on everyday activities (i.e. grocery shopping, restaurants, riding Marta etc). For these observations, you will be a non-participant observer, so try not to engage with others directly while you are observing. You may be a passive participant in the sense that you are grocery shopping yourself while observing, but you should not deliberately interact with others.

In planning your observations, identify the research objective of each observation (try to frame this as a research question), identify what or who you need to observe to meet your research objective (see the weekly readings) and identify the best location to conduct each observation to meet your objective.

For each observation you will use a different note-taking strategy to record the observations.

  1. For the first observation: take brief jottings while you are observing (e.g. statements, words, sketches, notes, phrases to trigger your memory) to help you recall details of your observations later when writing your field notes. Then, shortly after the observation, transform your jottings into field notes that describe your observation in detail. Try to include as much detail as possible, such as colors,sounds, smells, people’s appearances, actions, utterances, interactions, bodylanguage, etc. Make sure your final field notes focus on your research objective. You can include your own thoughts, feelings or interpretations in brackets– but be sure to make a clear distinction in your field notes between your own thoughts and your actual observations, as discussed in class.
  2. Your second observation will be similar to the first, but instead of taking notes while observing take a couple of breaks to stop observing and write jottings of the

observation (e.g. break every 5 or 8 minutes). Write your jottings into field notes as before.

3. For your third observation do not write anything at all during the observation. Instead, sit down afterwards and jot down as much as you can remember. Write your jottings into field notes as before.

For this assignment you will submit:

  1. Your field notes (not your jottings) from each observation that respond to your research objective. Your field notes should be a maximum of one single spaced page per observation (i.e. 3 pages in total). Your field notes for each observation may differ in length, but each should not exceed one page (80% of grade). Clearly label each observation, including:
    1. a) Research objective for each observation.
    2. b) Place of observation
    3. c) Date of observation
    4. d) Start and end time of observation
    5. e) Your gaze while observing
    6. f) The note-taking strategy you used
  1. A 500-word (maximum) response to the following (20% of grade):
    1. a) Describe the challenges you experienced in using each of the note takingstrategies.
    2. b) Describe what you learned from using observation that you would not have gained from interviewing participants. Provide specific examples from your observations.
    3. c) What could you gain if your observations had been longer (e.g. 3-5 hours each)?

    Your assignment will be assessed on:

    • Adequate labelling of your field notes
    • Including a clear research objective for each observation and the extent to which your field notes focus on this objective.
    • How well we are able to visualize the setting, people, and activities from your field notes.
    • Using the concrete principle and clear separation of your observations from your interpretations.
    • Thoughtful discussion of the challenges of each note-taking strategy, the value of using observation for your research objective and the benefits of longer observation.

### IMPORTANT INFORMATION about the three observations ###

please, please, please read every single instruction THIS IS MY LAST CHANCE FOR THIS ASSIGNMENT.

I would like you to observe three places, which are a Starbucks store, a gym, and a grocery store. please you should use three different research questions, one for each.

PLEASE, you should use three different strategies which are:

1) jotting while you observe (in this strategy you have to write more more information about what you observe because you can write immediately the notes) *at least one page and please use a Starbucks store for this strategy.

2) observe for three minutes then take a break for jotting down what you observe. please repeat this for five times to complete 15 min observation. (please do this strategy at a Gym, Between half page and one page)

3) observe for 15 min then jotting down what you observe. (please use a grocery store for this strategy, and half page is enough ).

***what you observe are the place, people (what they wear, how they look like, what they are doing), actions, reactions, behaviors, and any thing that seems observations.

for example:

I smell bla bla . the two people who sat next to me are bla bla. the reactions between the customer and the cashier bla bla.

and so on.

***please remember this is an observation so do not write something like assumptions or use generalization in your observations.

*** the Gaze refers to where/how you are situated at the location. .

***there are two parts for this assignment( the three observations and writing a 500 word max)

*** please read everything carefully and let me know if you have any question or misunderstanding.

as well as you should include most of these things in the observation (colors, sounds, smells, people’s appearances, actions, utterances, interactions, body language, etc. Make sure your final field notes focus on your research objective.)

***VERY IMPORTANT research objective for each observation ( probably you should write it before start writing the observation) (Clearly label each observation)

I have attached the lecture please read it carefully as well.

thank you

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