Instructions Summary: The principal steps for the assignment are… Choose a topic
Instructions Summary: The principal steps for the assignment are…
Choose a topic or theory covered within the course content (e.g., altruism, attraction, conformity, gender, group influence, persuasion).
Research the topic using the UMGC Library to learn more about it.
Develop a research question you would like to explore through naturalistic observation. Question must be answerable through observation.
Create your observation strategy that will enable you to explore your research question. Include in this planning data collection/coding strategies.
Conduct the observation and evaluate the qualitative data collected.
Write and submit for grading a well composed, 6- to 8-page APA style formatted Observation of Social Behavior research paper. Included in the submitted document will be an Appendix containing Annotated Abstracts. The Appendix will not count towards the required page count for the body of the paper. The all-inclusive page count for the submitted document (Title Page, Report, References, and Appendix) will be approximately 11 to 14 pages.
Submit a single document that 1) introduces an appropriate research question grounded in social psychology; 2) answers the research question through naturalistic observation; and 3) addresses the requirements listed here.
Observations are ONLY to be made in public places, communal spaces in your home, or via public webcams (e.g., Zoos have “live” webcams that enable one to see the public within habitat areas). Observations may not be made in private areas (e.g., bathroom, bedroom). Observations must be unobtrusive, meaning you may not interact with observed subjects. You cannot speak to subjects or solicit written responses to questions or surveys. [See the “More on Unobtrusive Observation” box below to learn more about why unobtrusive observation is important to your project.]
Your research can revisit a social psychology related question or study found within the empirical literature, or you can develop a new research question of your own design. In both approaches, you will have the opportunity to synthesize information from the course, expressing your understanding on the topic.
Within the document…
Introduce. Concisely introduced the reader to the research topic addressed through your observation project. Clearly define terms and theory when introduced in the paper. Anchor the paper through a well-constructed thesis statement.
Have purpose. Your research question should clearly relate to a social psychology topic/theory. Dedicate discussion to the origins of the research question, to include support from existing studies. All topics are to be discussed in clear detail.
Connect. In the introduction of the research question, and in the discussion of the observation outcomes, support assertions made. Express interrelated ideas coherently and logically.
Include sources. Incorporate course sources and a minimum of five (5) peer-reviewed professional sources from our UMGC Library. [In an Appendix to the study, present a copy of the abstracts from five peer-reviewed journal articles, along with a summary of how the articles facilitated your research. More on the Appendix requirement is provided below.]
Use Authorial Voice. Discuss materials in your own words and your own writing style and structure. Avoid excessive use of direct quotes. Doing so may incur a point penalty for each occurrence and will not be accepted as content towards the page count of the reflection paper.
Apply APA Style**.
More on Unobtrusive Observation
During your naturalistic observation study, it is important that you do not interfere or intervene in the behavior being studied. The main reason you must be unobtrusive in your study is to avoid interfering or changing the behavior of the participants being observed. Being unobtrusive supports avoiding reactance or reactivity effect. Reactance refers to the biasing of the participants’ responses because they know they are being observed.
To offer an example, consider the studies conducted at the Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne plant in Illinois between 1927 and 1933 (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939). The purpose of the studies was to determine the effects of working hours and lighting quality on employee productivity. When researchers compared the productivity of the participants in variable manipulated (test) conditions to others within the plant, unusual findings emerged. The participants in the manipulated conditions often produced at higher rates, to include under conditions that were deemed inferior (e.g., reduce lighting) to those within the standard operating conditions of the plant. The increased performance under inferior conditions was unexpected and thereby, puzzling. This prompted a series of additional studies to assess the source of influence that moved the participants in the inferior conditions to produce at rates higher than those within the general plant. The answer discovered: workers who knew they were research participants and that they were being observed increased productivity. Thus, the knowledge that one is participating in an experiment or is being observed may result in dramatic changes in behavior. [Because of the location of the original studies at the Western Electric Company, the reactivity phenomena are often referred to as the, Hawthorne effect.]