The Utility of Participant Observation in Applied Sociological Research

Posted on December 15, 2016 by Dr Zuleyka Zevallos

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By Jan Ali  [1]

Participant observation has long been an important social inquiry tool in sociological investigation of the social world and in applied sociology. It is a complex blend of methods and techniques of observation, informant interviewing, respondent interviewing, and document analysis. Researchers and social science practitioners use participant observation to gain a meaningful knowledge about the existence of a specific social world through experiencing “real” social milieus or through lived experience. The purpose of this paper is to offer a practical demonstration of the utility of participant observation as a method of social enquiry. I argue that, given the ‘religious’ nature of the Tablighi Jama’at , no other research method, whether qualitative or quantitative in nature, would have proven more useful and applicable other than participant observation. Only participant observation allowed me to enter the world’s largest Islamic revivalist movement through its Sydney group and gain an understanding about its social and cultural world – an understanding useful for sociology of religion and applied sociology.

Also, I want to argue that applied sociological research methods have the power to affect social change, including the researcher, and sociology as an academic discipline and practice needs to appreciate that ‘doing’ sociology has the power to change not only society, but ourselves as sociologists. Sociologists’ role then is not only to interpret the world but wherever warranted to change it including him or herself. In this light, this paper therefore discusses participant observation as a reflexive methodology that shows how the application of sociology can positively affect the researcher’s identity and worldview.


Participant Observation

On a day-to-day basis people make sense of their subjective world through interaction with each other and the meanings they assign to their actions and their environments (Blumer, 1969; Denzin, 1978). People experience social situations as ‘reality’, although they could be mistaken or hold an erroneous belief about it, because it has real consequences (Thomas and Thomas, 1928). The world of everyday life is a social construction (Berger and Luckman, 1966) and the conception of reality, by the insiders of this world, is not directly accessible to strangers (Schutz, 1967). The world of everyday life, as perceived from the insider’s perspective, is the quintessential reality to be delineated by participant observation. In the final analysis, therefore, participant observation attempts to unearth, make accessible, and expose the meanings people assign to their daily lives. Participant observation permits an understanding of the people being studied and their behaviour in direct reference to their own constructs and meanings about their subjective world. In terms of applied sociology, this is very important because, through participant observation, a better understanding of a social world is made possible. This in turn helps advance our collective knowledge of social phenomena, improve social interaction, and enhance human social life.

Participant observation is not a single method but a complex blend of methods and techniques such as observation, informant interviewing, respondent interviewing, and document analysis employed in researching particular types of subject matter. Instead of limiting the research, participant observation helps fulfil the research objective and purpose. Participant observation can be defined in various ways. Suffice it to say that it is a method of data collection that takes the researcher into the actual social setting or field enabling him or her to gain first hand experience and understanding of its complexity and inner realities.

Participant observation

The use of participant observation has not escaped criticisms. Critics first argue that the people being studied or specific social setting in one way or another are inevitably affected by the presence of the researcher. Secondly, they say that the researcher has to rely almost entirely on impressionistic interpretation of the information to reach generalizations (Van Krieken et al., 2000). They claim that the data gathered under such a method is highly likely to be unreliable, invalid, and over-generalized because of “observer bias”, “going native”, and “hearsay” (McCall and Simmons, 1969: 2).

While some critics denounce participant observation as a quixotic approach to coming to grips with the data, the proponents of participant observation celebrate its utility arguing that in comparison to other research methods, participant observation is less likely to be unreliable, biased, or invalid. The fact that the social world of the people being studied has its own internal system of checks and balance naturally authenticates the data (Lincoln and Guba , 1985) and any concerns for data contamination and researcher bias is dispelled (Van Krieken et al., 2000).

Within participant observation a range of participant roles exist. Buford Junker (1960) identifies four participant roles which can be used in conjunction with ea ch other or independently:

In my research on the Tablighi Jama’at, I employed complete participant role. This was motivated by my sociological research into the Tablighi Jama’at.

By Aswami Yusof, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Tablighi Jama’at, which originated in India in 1927 and is the world’ s largest transnational Islamic revivalist movement, sees the West with suspicion. For the Tablighi Jama’at, modernity is seen as grossly polluted by Western imagination and therefore anything or anyone linked to it are viewed with a sense of apprehension. Modern Western thinking, the academy, and pedagogy are no exception and are perceived as anti-theology in general and anti-Islam in particular. As a consequence, the Tablighis (members of the Tablighi Jama’at) see social research as a mo de of investigation by the West (or by Muslims sympathetic to the West) and its values, to ascertain information for the purpose of monitoring and undermining the movement. They denounce social research as count er-productive bec ause its focus is on investigating the “social”, not the “ divine”. Social research is therefore devalued. As many Tablighis informed me during my research, the time, money, and energy invested in research can be better spent in the pa th of Allah (God). Their claim is that the Islamic way of life itself is a research: a research into the realm of divine and omnipotence of Allah. It is a way of life that seeks to find Allah. Thus, the Tablighis eschew giving interviews, filling questionnaires or participating in surveys. These are seen as worldly pursuits devoid of any genuine and pure fulfilments. It was for these reasons that I employed participant observation, in particular the role of complete participant. Although the Tablighis usually refuse to cooperate with any type of survey or research, on this occasion, they openly welcome d me because they were not required to fill any questionnaires or forms or take special time out to participate in any experiment and, most importantly, for them this was their opportunity to proselytise me.

Complete Participant

Photo: Jamie Kennedy via Flickr

A complete participant usually withholds his or her true identity and purpose as a researcher in the field. The researcher participates in the aspects of daily living of the people being studied by learning to play the vital everyday roles successfully and interacting with them with natural ease. This is done, on the one hand, to avoid detection as a researcher and, on the other hand, to facilitate and secure acceptance into the participants’ setting so that the knowledge and understanding of the inner workings of their subjective world can be achieved: in short, so that the research objectives can be achieved.

In this sense, the basic tenet of complete participation is a role-pretence. 2 In role-pretence nothing matters as much as for the researcher to realize that he or she is pretending to be someone which he or she normally is not. In my case, however, no form of deception was employed. In fact, I unequivocally informed key members of the Tablighi Jama’at in Sydney that I was conducting an empirical research about the movement to learn more ab out it from a sociological perspective. Joining the movement was essentially to conduct empirical research about the Tablighi Jama’at. However, because I am a Muslim, my role as a Tablighi apprentice me ant that I also inevitably learnt more about Islam, my religion. Thus, during the data collection and in the final analysis, my complete participant role entailed a Muslim researching other Muslims – an insider’s perspective of a sociological phenomenon.

The role-pretence is for the duration of the research project. Therefore, in my case, for example, I had to be consistent with my complete participant role throughout the course of the research. I attended the movement ’s meetings and went on tour as both an apprentice Tablighi and a sociological researcher. To maintain my role as a complete participant, part of my everyday self as an ordinary person had to be opened up for minor changes, for instance, wearing kameez (long bagy shirt) and shalwar (baggy trousers), in light of accentuating my Tablighi self. Although I was able to balance up, with relative ease, my roles as a Tablighi ( complete participant self), an ordinary individual (actual self), and a researcher (professional self) in the context of the Tablighi Jama’at, for a non-Muslim researcher in particular this role reconciliation would have no doubt proven to be problematic.

It is worth pointing out, therefore, that the complete participant self was not totally an alien phenomenon for me given that this role had some common features consistent with my everyday self by the virtue of me being a Muslim. Accentuating my complete participant self or the Tablighi self, in this context, did not me an becoming alienated from my everyday self but indirectly giving my everyday self, particularly the embodiment of my Muslim identity, a clarity and expression. This was through learning more about the different social and cultural expressions of my ow n religion. As a Tablighi apprentice I managed to fulfill the dual role of an ordinary Muslim seeking to know more ab out his own religion and a complete participant undertaking an empirical research to understand a religious movement. Becoming a Tablighi apprentice, in the context of participant observation, me ant that I had to wear kameez and shalwar all the time when in fa ct I usually only wear them on special religious occasions—such as Eid al-Fitr (the feast at the completion of the fasting month of Ramadan), Edi al-Adha (the feast of sacrifice), Juma (Friday congregational prayer)—not shave when I am used to shaving everyday, and sleep on the floor when I am used to sleeping on a bed with an inner-sprung mattress. I did not have an issue with moving in and out of this assumed role. Perhaps for a non-Muslim, this situation this would pose a major problem, and it would potentially make the participants suspicious of the researcher’s interest and lead them to become aloof in their interactions with the researcher, possibly restricting the fl ow of information.

Participant Observation and Applied Sociology

Photo: Jamie Kennedy via Flickr

Researching is an important and unique experience. In this section I want to argue that participant observation, apart from being a social enquiry tool, is a research experience in its own right and therefore a form of applied sociology. I see participant observation as the quintessential nexus of applied sociological methods – that is, in the application of sociological theory and practice.

Sociology encourages us to conceptualise social change as an ongoing process and social research theories teach us to remain objective in our attempt to understand a new social world and preserve the purity of the data. Despite this, change occurs in some measure in the newly discovered social world but, more importantly, it unavoidably occurs in the sociologist’s own expectations and behaviour as he or she responds to new and distinct patterns, and in recognition of past experiences/knowledge. Although I took every precaution not to ‘disturb’ the naturalness of the Tablighi social environment, the complete participant role inevitably had impact on me personally as I learnt more about my religion – Islam. Participant observation enabled me as a sociologist to advance fundamental knowledge about the Tablighi Jama’at as an important part of the phenomenon of Islamic revivalism. My research also contributes to Australian society’s understanding of an undiscovered part of Australian social fabric and an untapped Australian socio-cultural resource. It also provided me with a religious enlightenment which I can now apply to enrich my personal as well as professional life.

Thus, here is an empirical example of how a particular research method has the power to transform an individual subjectivity and how the application of sociological theory affects us. Applied sociology is therefore not only something that sociologists ‘do’ but it is also something that embodies us as practitioners of the discipline of sociology and defines who we are and our place in the world. Ultimately then, it is not just the social theories that carve out our sociological reflexivity, but also our professional endeavour – the research practice.

Applied sociology research practice

Bio at the time of first publication (2008):

Dr Jan Ali is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion at Macquarie University, investigating the most effective comm unity-based activities for improving relations between Muslim and non-Muslim Australians. He also coordinates and lectures in Cross-Cultural Communication at Macquarie University and Religion and Politics in Contemporary Society at University of Newcastle.

Credits and notes

Contact author for a list of references.

[1] This article was first published by Nexus in June 2008. Original Citation for this article: Ali, J. (2008), ‘The Utility of Participant Observation in Applied Sociological Research,’  Nexus June 20(2): 18-20.

[2] There is an opinion that sees role-pretence as unethical. However, in my research, the role-pretence operated strictly within the practices of social scientific research and no deception or falsity was used to gain access to the Tablighi Jama’at.

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For this Observation decided to try Mediterranean food. After looking at different menus; I had made this choice the food was similar to the type of food am accustomed to. The object of this observation was to try something wasn’t familiar with. The reason why I chose the restaurant did was because know myself.

If I would have tried something to different and ended up not liking or appreciating the food, I wouldn’t have stayed and properly completed the assignment. When it comes to the food I eat can be very ethnocentric. I am a very picky person when it comes to food; I don’t like to try many new types of food. Even when it comes to just fast food restaurant’s get the same meal every time. I feel that it would be a waste of time and money if I bought something new and didn’t even finish it because I thought it wasn’t good.

Don’t waste your time! Order your assignment!

Even though I had decided on a food that was similar to my king; I was still skeptical on the food was about to eat. During this experience I defiantly wanted to avoid Role Conflicts. I had decided to sit in a corner area of the restaurant that allowed me to be observant but not disrespectful. After the experience was over I was happy with the overall outcome. Even though food wasn’t the greatest I was able to finish it and the assignment correctly. The area of Fresno that this took place in is considered to be upper class society. There isn’t many people of that culture in that part of the neighborhood either.

The menu certainly fit in with the community the food being high priced. I was expecting to see a lot of different cultures inside the restaurant but that wasn’t the case at all. The restaurant was very clean and had very nice d©cord. I don’t know much about the culture but from what I have seen from movies and various other things the colors that scheme that they had in the restaurant fit very well with the culture. Not knowing much about the culture, figuring out the culture was difficult. What stood out most to me was that many of the items involved either lamb or garlic if not both.

As stated early am not the type of person to change eating habits. After looking at the menu for some time I had decided to try the trip-tip gyros with rice and bread. Also decided to get the gyros without onions. I am not a real vegetable eater but I had decided to leave the tomatoes. While eating this it had really surprised me that was leaning more towards actually liking the food then not. The Trip-tip was good but was marinated very different than other ones I have had. It had a big hint of garlic in it. I wasn’t really able to taste the tomatoes either.

My perception of the food wasn’t changed extremely. I did like the food but not that much that would just go and eat it on any day. The face that had liked the food was very surprising to me because that am so picky. This assignment has opened me up some more that I will consider different things and not just be so ethnocentric. Also I used to just think other cultures cooked with different and “nasty’ foods. After I observed other plates being served as well as my own, that’s not the case at all. They way that meals are prepared and cooked are different not the food they are made with.

The biggest impact on my life was the way that think about different cultures. These different cultures come to America to change their lives but still have to keep their self-identity and they find that within their culture. The personality and identity is within their culture and not just the life they are trying to life. Used to just think that if people want to come to America then they should just live the life we have here; but now that have been in this class and assignment I see it a lot differently. I can honestly say that my Social Imagination has changed with this assignment.

It truly was heartwarming me to be able to connect with this culture in a way haven’t experienced. Causality had a factor in this as well. When one simple idea in my mind changed it started to mold the others that had already had in my head about the different culture. Even though there wasn’t much communication with someone of the culture it gave me a change to be opened up to many cultures. This assignment could very well be a deductive approach to culture. Before we get to know anything about a culture we have pre deceived ideas about them and then as we get to know the culture the ideas begin to get changed or analyzed.

There is no Reliability in the change in heart I had; this is because other cultures are still different and doesn’t mean because accepted this culture that I would be able to another. I wasn’t able to receive much of a Generalization because there wasn’t many people at the restaurant at the time I was. There was a few people but they were either nurses or doctors seeming to be on their dinner break from the hospital. The culture analysis was able to receive was a very small Sample; the employees were of the culture of the restaurant. From what I could tell they weren’t originally from the United States.

The Material Culture was the hardest for me to figure out. I am not an art person so I can’t really tell where they were from. From the way the restaurant was laid out I do believe it was art from their culture. Don’t know if I just wasn’t able to figure out who held the master status or maybe the master wasn’t there or n their break. The last observation I was able to make was the Gender roles. I observed that the males were in the kitchen cooking and making the decisions. The women were the ones taking the orders and doing the smaller roles such as cleaning,

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Writing Papers That Apply Sociological Theories or Perspectives

This document is intended as an additional resource for undergraduate students taking sociology courses at UW. It is not intended to replace instructions from your professors and TAs. In all cases follow course-specific assignment instructions, and consult your TA or professor if you have questions.

About These Assignments

Theory application assignments are a common type of analytical writing assigned in sociology classes.  Many instructors expect you to apply sociological theories (sometimes called "perspectives" or "arguments") to empirical phenomena. [1]   There are different ways to do this, depending upon your objectives, and of course, the specifics of each assignment. You can choose cases that confirm (support), disconfirm (contradict), [2]  or partially confirm any theory.   

How to Apply Theory to Empirical Phenomena

Theory application assignments generally require you to look at empirical phenomena through the lens of theory.  Ask yourself, what would the theory predict ("have to say") about a particular situation. According to the theory, if particular conditions are present or you see a change in a particular variable, what outcome should you expect? 

Generally, a first step in a theory application assignment is to make certain you understand the theory! You should be able to state the theory (the author's main argument) in a sentence or two.  Usually, this means specifying the causal relationship (X—>Y) or the causal model (which might involve multiple variables and relationships). 

For those taking sociological theory classes, in particular, you need to be aware that theories are constituted by more than causal relationships.  Depending upon the assignment, you may be asked to specify the following:

Theories vary in terms of whether they specify assumptions, scope conditions and causal mechanisms.  Sometimes they can only be inferred: when this is the case, be clear about that in your paper.

Clearly understanding all the parts of a theory helps you ensure that you are applying the theory correctly to your case. For example, you can ask whether your case fits the theory's assumptions and scope conditions.  Most importantly, however, you should single out the main argument or point (usually the causal relationship and mechanism) of the theory.  Does the theorist's key argument apply to your case? Students often go astray here by latching onto an inconsequential or less important part of the theory reading, showing the relationship to their case, and then assuming they have fully applied the theory.

Using Evidence to Make Your Argument

Theory application papers involve making a claim or argument based on theory, supported by empirical evidence. [3]   There are a few common problems that students encounter while writing these types of assignments: unsubstantiated claims/generalizations; "voice" issues or lack of attribution; excessive summarization/insufficient analysis.  Each class of problem is addressed below, followed by some pointers for choosing "cases," or deciding upon the empirical phenomenon to which you will apply the theoretical perspective or argument (including where to find data).

A common problem seen in theory application assignments is failing to substantiate claims, or making a statement that is not backed up with evidence or details ("proof").  When you make a statement or a claim, ask yourself, "How do I know this?"  What evidence can you marshal to support your claim? Put this evidence in your paper (and remember to cite your sources).  Similarly, be careful about making overly strong or broad claims based on insufficient evidence.  For example, you probably don't want to make a claim about how Americans feel about having a black president based on a poll of UW undergraduates.  You may also want to be careful about making authoritative (conclusive) claims about broad social phenomena based on a single case study.

In addition to un- or under-substantiated claims, another problem that students often encounter when writing these types of papers is lack of clarity regarding "voice," or whose ideas they are presenting.  The reader is left wondering whether a given statement represents the view of the theorist, the student, or an author who wrote about the case.  Be careful to identify whose views and ideas you are presenting. For example, you could write, "Marx views class conflict as the engine of history;" or, "I argue that American politics can best be understood through the lens of class conflict;" [4]  or, "According to Ehrenreich, Walmart employees cannot afford to purchase Walmart goods."

Another common problem that students encounter is the trap of excessive summarization.  They spend the majority of their papers simply summarizing (regurgitating the details) of a case—much like a book report.  One way to avoid this is to remember that theory indicates which details (or variables) of a case are most relevant, and to focus your discussion on those aspects.  A second strategy is to make sure that you relate the details of the case in an analytical fashion. You might do this by stating an assumption of Marxist theory, such as "man's ideas come from his material conditions," and then summarizing evidence from your case on that point.  You could organize the details of the case into paragraphs and start each paragraph with an analytical sentence about how the theory relates to different aspects of the case. 

Some theory application papers require that you choose your own case (an empirical phenomenon, trend, situation, etc.), whereas others specify the case for you (e.g., ask you to apply conflict theory to explain some aspect of globalization described in an article). Many students find choosing their own case rather challenging.  Some questions to guide your choice are:

Where You Can Find Data

Data is collected by many organizations (e.g., commercial, governmental, nonprofit, academic) and can frequently be found in books, reports, articles, and online sources.  The UW libraries make your job easy: on the front page of the library website ( ), in the left hand corner you will see a list of options under the heading "Find It" that allows you to go directly to databases, specific online journals, newspapers, etc. For example, if you are choosing a historical case, you might want to access newspaper articles.  This has become increasingly easy to do, as many are now online through the UW library.  For example, you can search The New York Times and get full-text online for every single issue from 1851 through today!  If you are interested in interview or observational data, you might try to find books or articles that are case-studies on your topic of interest by conducting a simple keyword search of the UW library book holdings, or using an electronic database, such as JSTOR or Sociological Abstracts.  Scholarly articles are easy to search through, since they contain abstracts, or paragraphs that summarize the topic, relevant literature, data and methods, and major findings.  When using JSTOR, you may want to limit your search to sociology (which includes 70 journals) and perhaps political science; this database retrieves full-text articles. Sociological Abstracts will cast a wider net searching many more sociology journals, but the article may or may not be available online (find out by clicking "check for UW holdings").  A final word about using academic articles for data: remember that you need to cite your sources, and follow the instructions of your assignment.  This includes making your own argument about your case, not using an argument you find in a scholarly article.

In addition, there are many data sources online.  For example, you can get data from the US census, including for particular neighborhoods, from a number of cites. You can get some crime data online: the Seattle Police Department publishes several years' worth of crime rates.  There are numerous cites on public opinion, including There is an online encyclopedia on Washington state history, including that of individual Seattle neighborhoods ( ). These are just a couple options: a simple google search will yield hundreds more.  Finally, remember that librarian reference desks are expert on data sources, and that you can call, email, or visit in person to ask about what data is available on your particular topic.  You can chat with a librarian 24 hours a day online, as well (see the "Ask Us!" link on the front page of UW libraries website for contact information).

[1] By empirical phenomena, we mean some sort of observed, real-world conditions. These include societal trends, events, or outcomes. They are sometimes referred to as "cases."   Return to Reading

[2] A cautionary note about critiquing theories: no social theory explains all cases, so avoid claiming that a single case "disproves" a theory, or that a single case "proves" a theory correct. Moreover, if you choose a case that disconfirms a theory, you should be careful that the case falls within the scope conditions (see above) of the given theory. For example, if a theorist specifies that her argument pertains to economic transactions, it would not be a fair critique to say the theory doesn't explain dynamics within a family. On the other hand, it is useful and interesting to apply theories to cases not foreseen by the original theorist (we see this in sociological theories that incorporate theories from evolutionary biology or economics).   Return to Reading

[3] By empirical evidence, we mean data on social phenomena, derived from scientific observation or experiment.  Empirical evidence may be quantitative (e.g., statistical data) or qualitative (e.g., descriptions derived from systematic observation or interviewing), or a mixture of both. Empirical evidence must be observable and derived from real-world conditions (present or historical) rather than hypothetical or "imagined".  For additional help, see the "Where You Can Find Data" section on the next page.   Return to Reading

[4] If your instructor does not want you to use the first-person, you could write, "This paper argues…"   Return to Reading

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2.3 Research Design in Sociology

Learning objective.

We now turn to the major methods that sociologists use to gather the information they analyze in their research. Table 2.2 “Major Sociological Research Methods” summarizes the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

Table 2.2 Major Sociological Research Methods

Types of Sociological Research

The survey is the most common method by which sociologists gather their data. The Gallup Poll is perhaps the best-known example of a survey and, like all surveys, gathers its data with the help of a questionnaire that is given to a group of respondents. The Gallup Poll is an example of a survey conducted by a private organization, but it typically includes only a small range of variables. It thus provides a good starting point for research but usually does not include enough variables for a full-fledged sociological study. Sociologists often do their own surveys, as does the government and many organizations in addition to Gallup.

A pile of surveys

The survey is the most common research design in sociological research. Respondents either fill out questionnaires themselves or provide verbal answers to interviewers asking them the questions.

The Bees – Surveys to compile – CC BY-NC 2.0.

The General Social Survey, described earlier, is an example of a face-to-face survey, in which interviewers meet with respondents to ask them questions. This type of survey can yield a lot of information, because interviewers typically will spend at least an hour asking their questions, and a high response rate (the percentage of all people in the sample who agree to be interviewed), which is important to be able to generalize the survey’s results to the entire population. On the downside, this type of survey can be very expensive and time-consuming to conduct.

Because of these drawbacks, sociologists and other researchers have turned to telephone surveys. Most Gallup Polls are conducted over the telephone. Computers do random-digit dialing, which results in a random sample of all telephone numbers being selected. Although the response rate and the number of questions asked are both lower than in face-to-face surveys (people can just hang up the phone at the outset or let their answering machine take the call), the ease and low expense of telephone surveys are making them increasingly popular.

Mailed surveys, done by mailing questionnaires to respondents, are still used, but not as often as before. Compared with face-to-face surveys, mailed questionnaires are less expensive and time consuming but have lower response rates, because many people simply throw out the questionnaire along with other junk mail.

Whereas mailed surveys are becoming less popular, surveys done over the Internet are becoming more popular, as they can reach many people at very low expense. A major problem with Web surveys is that their results cannot necessarily be generalized to the entire population, because not everyone has access to the Internet.


Experiments are the primary form of research in the natural and physical sciences, but in the social sciences they are for the most part found only in psychology. Some sociologists still use experiments, however, and they remain a powerful tool of social research.

The major advantage of experiments is that the researcher can be fairly sure of a cause-and-effect relationship because of the way the experiment is set up. Although many different experimental designs exist, the typical experiment consists of an experimental group and a control group , with subjects randomly assigned to either group. The researcher makes a change to the experimental group that is not made to the control group. If the two groups differ later in some variable, then it is safe to say that the condition to which the experimental group was subjected was responsible for the difference that resulted.

A student working on an experiment in science class

Experiments are very common in the natural and physical sciences and in sociology. A major advantage of experiments is that they are very useful for establishing cause-and-effect-relationships.

biologycorner – Science Experiment – CC BY-NC 2.0.

Most experiments take place in the laboratory, which for psychologists may be a room with a one-way mirror, but some experiments occur in “the field,” or in a natural setting. In Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the early 1980s, sociologists were involved in a much-discussed field experiment sponsored by the federal government. The researchers wanted to see whether arresting men for domestic violence made it less likely that they would commit such violence again. To test this hypothesis, the researchers had police do one of the following after arriving at the scene of a domestic dispute: they either arrested the suspect, separated him from his wife or partner for several hours, or warned him to stop but did not arrest or separate him. The researchers then determined the percentage of men in each group who committed repeated domestic violence during the next 6 months and found that those who were arrested had the lowest rate of recidivism, or repeat offending (Sherman & Berk, 1984). This finding led many jurisdictions across the United States to adopt a policy of mandatory arrest for domestic violence suspects. However, replications of the Minneapolis experiment in other cities found that arrest sometimes reduced recidivism for domestic violence but also sometimes increased it, depending on which city was being studied and on certain characteristics of the suspects, including whether they were employed at the time of their arrest (Sherman, 1992).

As the Minneapolis study suggests, perhaps the most important problem with experiments is that their results are not generalizable beyond the specific subjects studied. The subjects in most psychology experiments, for example, are college students, who are not typical of average Americans: they are younger, more educated, and more likely to be middle class. Despite this problem, experiments in psychology and other social sciences have given us very valuable insights into the sources of attitudes and behavior.

Observational Studies and Intensive Interviewing

Observational research, also called field research, is a staple of sociology. Sociologists have long gone into the field to observe people and social settings, and the result has been many rich descriptions and analyses of behavior in juvenile gangs, bars, urban street corners, and even whole communities.

Observational studies consist of both participant observation and nonparticipant observation . Their names describe how they differ. In participant observation, the researcher is part of the group that she or he is studying. The researcher thus spends time with the group and might even live with them for a while. Several classical sociological studies of this type exist, many of them involving people in urban neighborhoods (Liebow, 1967, 1993; Whyte, 1943). Participant researchers must try not to let their presence influence the attitudes or behavior of the people they are observing. In nonparticipant observation, the researcher observes a group of people but does not otherwise interact with them. If you went to your local shopping mall to observe, say, whether people walking with children looked happier than people without children, you would be engaging in nonparticipant observation.

A related type of research design is intensive interviewing . Here a researcher does not necessarily observe a group of people in their natural setting but rather sits down with them individually and interviews them at great length, often for one or two hours or even longer. The researcher typically records the interview and later transcribes it for analysis. The advantages and disadvantages of intensive interviewing are similar to those for observational studies: intensive interviewing provides much information about the subjects being interviewed, but the results of such interviewing cannot necessarily be generalized beyond the subjects.

A classic example of field research is Kai T. Erikson’s Everything in Its Path (1976), a study of the loss of community bonds in the aftermath of a flood in a West Virginia mining community, Buffalo Creek. The flood occurred when an artificial dam composed of mine waste gave way after days of torrential rain. The local mining company had allowed the dam to build up in violation of federal law. When it broke, 132 million gallons of water broke through and destroyed several thousand homes in seconds while killing 125 people. Some 2,500 other people were rendered instantly homeless. Erikson was called in by the lawyers representing the survivors to document the sociological effects of their loss of community, and the book he wrote remains a moving account of how the destruction of the Buffalo Creek way of life profoundly affected the daily lives of its residents.

A man interviewing a woman on video

Intensive interviewing can yield in-depth information about the subjects who are interviewed, but the results of this research design cannot necessarily be generalized beyond these subjects.

Fellowship of the Rich – Interview – CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Similar to experiments, observational studies cannot automatically be generalized to other settings or members of the population. But in many ways they provide a richer account of people’s lives than surveys do, and they remain an important method of sociological research.

Existing Data

Sometimes sociologists do not gather their own data but instead analyze existing data that someone else has gathered. The U.S. Census Bureau, for example, gathers data on all kinds of areas relevant to the lives of Americans, and many sociologists analyze census data on such topics as poverty, employment, and illness. Sociologists interested in crime and the legal system may analyze data from court records, while medical sociologists often analyze data from patient records at hospitals. Analysis of existing data such as these is called secondary data analysis . Its advantage to sociologists is that someone else has already spent the time and money to gather the data. A disadvantage is that the data set being analyzed may not contain data on all the variables in which a sociologist may be interested or may contain data on variables that are not measured in ways the sociologist might prefer.

Nonprofit organizations often analyze existing data, usually gathered by government agencies, to get a better understanding of the social issue with which an organization is most concerned. They then use their analysis to help devise effective social policies and strategies for dealing with the issue. The “Learning From Other Societies” box discusses a nonprofit organization in Canada that analyzes existing data for this purpose.

Learning From Other Societies

Social Research and Social Policy in Canada

In several nations beyond the United States, nonprofit organizations often use social science research, including sociological research, to develop and evaluate various social reform strategies and social policies. Canada is one of these nations. Information on Canadian social research organizations can be found at .

The Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy (CRISP) at the University of New Brunswick is one of these organizations. According to its Web site ( ), CRISP is “dedicated to conducting policy research aimed at improving the education and care of Canadian children and youth…and supporting low-income countries in their efforts to build research capacity in child development.” To do this, CRISP analyzes data from large data sets, such as the Canadian National Longitudinal Survey of Children and Youth, and it also evaluates policy efforts at the local, national, and international levels.

A major concern of CRISP has been developmental problems in low-income children and teens. These problems are the focus of a CRISP project called Raising and Leveling the Bar: A Collaborative Research Initiative on Children’s Learning, Behavioral, and Health Outcomes. This project at the time of this writing involved a team of five senior researchers and almost two dozen younger scholars. CRISP notes that Canada may have the most complete data on child development in the world but that much more research with these data needs to be performed to help inform public policy in the area of child development. CRISP’s project aims to use these data to help achieve the following goals, as listed on its Web site: (a) safeguard the healthy development of infants, (b) strengthen early childhood education, (c) improve schools and local communities, (d) reduce socioeconomic segregation and the effects of poverty, and (e) create a family enabling society ( ). This project has written many policy briefs, journal articles, and popular press articles to educate varied audiences about what the data on children’s development suggest for child policy in Canada.

Key Takeaways

For Your Review

Erikson, K. T. (1976). Everything in its path: Destruction of community in the Buffalo Creek flood . New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Liebow, E. (1967). Tally’s corner . Boston, MA: Little, Brown.

Liebow, E. (1993). Tell them who I am: The lives of homeless women . New York, NY: Free Press.

Sherman, L W. (1992). Policing domestic violence: Experiments and dilemmas . New York, NY: Free Press.

Sherman, L. W., & Berk, R. A. (1984). The specific deterrent effects of arrest for domestic assault. American Sociological Review, 49 , 261–272.

Whyte, W. F. (1943). Street corner society: The social structure of an Italian slum . Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Sociology by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

Instructors and faculty are at the heart of the discipline of sociology. ASA offers a variety of professional development resources to support sociological pedagogy across institutions.

TRAILS is an online peer-reviewed library of high-quality teaching resources, including syllabi, class activities, assignments, lectures, and more.

Contexts is a quarterly magazine that makes cutting-edge social research accessible to general readers, including undergraduate sociology students. The magazine includes feature articles, culture and book reviews, and photography, as well as analysis of the latest social science research.

Sociological Insights Video Series

ASA’s Sociological Insights , a curated collection of short videos, features sociologists sharing their expertise on some of the most pressing topics today. The videos, which are ideal for classroom use, cover topics including racism, poverty, religion, immigration, health care, and criminal justice.

Podcasts for Your Sociology Courses

ASA and SAGE produce podcasts on selected articles in ASA journals, which can be integrated into class assignments and activities. There are podcasts on articles from the American Sociological Review , Journal of Health and Social Behavior , and Sociology of Race and Ethnicity .

Teaching Online

Online instruction is become increasingly integrated into the general higher education experience. This page is a collection of resources to assist instructors of online sociology courses in creating quality content and effective learning experiences.

Teaching Sociology

Teaching Sociology is a quarterly journal that publishes articles, notes, and reviews to advance the quality of sociological instruction and the scholarship of teaching and learning in the discipline.

ASA Section on Teaching and Learning

Becoming a member of the Section on Teaching and Learning provides a professional outlet for improving the teaching of sociology from the high school through graduate level. It encourages innovative and effective pedagogy and research and provides opportunities for sociology instructors to connect and exchange ideas.

Guide on Race and Racism in the United States

Race and Racism in the United States: A Sociological Guide for the Public , produced by the ASA Task Force on the State of the Art in Sociological Scholarship on Race, offers critical understanding of race and racism and the importance of antiracism educational efforts for our national wellbeing.

Carla B. Howery Teaching Enhancement Grants

This small grants program supports teaching projects that advance the scholarship of teaching and learning within the discipline of sociology.

ASA Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award

The ASA Distinguished Contributions to Teaching Award honors ASA members’ outstanding contributions to the teaching of undergraduate and/or graduate sociology. The award recognizes contributions that have made a significant impact on teaching sociology at the regional, state, national, or international level.

These resources are designed to help sociology faculty teach professional ethics. Suitable for courses or faculty discussions.

Datasets from the ASA “Bachelors and Beyond” Study

Statistics instructors can use the data collected through our “Bachelors and Beyond” study on sociology majors and their career paths to inform and inspire students with data from previous cohorts of sociology students. Download the manual and data codebook. An SPSS dataset can be obtained by contacting [email protected] .

1430 K St NW Suite 600 Washington, DC 20005 202.383.9005 [email protected]

Sociology Observation Essay Topic Ideas

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Research Methods: Observations

Last updated 25 Apr 2020

The use of observations in Sociological research is explained in this video. We explain the strengths and limitations of observations as a research method, including participant, non-participant, covert and overt observations.

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Sociology Observation Assignment 2022

Added on - 2022-08-12

Your first Observation Report is due by February 16th. Observation Reports: These settings must be new to the student in order to broaden the range of experiences as well as provide an environment for sociological learning. The observation needs to be completed during the course of the semester. Prior experiences may not be used. Papers should incorporate the following three areas: 1. Summary of Observation: 

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Observation - Assignment Example


Extract of sample "Observation"

Observation In the mall under observation, I observed mental models of two groups: the elderly and the children. There were a few elderly in themall, mostly couples. Most of them were sitting on benches, sipping cups of coffee with their partners, and having a chit chat. They did not seem to have any responsibility on their shoulders, and all they wanted to have was some time out with their life partners. There were a lot of children in the mall, running around and having fun. Some of the infants were in their prams, and the toddlers held their mothers’ fingers.

Elder children pointed at stuff of their interest which they showed to their parents. For me, the mental models of the two groups were a lot similar, as the two groups were as carefree as they could be. 2. As for social relations, I sensed that it was an unwritten rule that the elderly were to be given preference in comfort zones like on benches and at the coffee bar. They were attended first. Also, mothers had to look after their kids, and fathers tended them by buying them eatables and paying for their shopping.

Parents warned their children about throwing trash out of the trash can, and the children conformed. That was really very interesting to observe how parents were calmly instructing their kids about any mistake they made, while they would be yelling at them if they were at home. 3. Material conditions included restraints like there were not many trash cans since this was a mall and not a picnic place. People were not supposed to eat while shopping. There was no kinder care for children. Resources included multiple ladies’ and gents’ washrooms, benches to sit upon, elevators, and catalogue counters.


Court observation, child observation, observation study, participant observation, naturalistic observation, observation report, behaviorists observation, observation paper.

sociology observation assignment

Berkeley Graduate Division

Sociology 190 Research Assignment

by Sarah Macdonald, Sociology

Context Assignment 1: Paper Proposal Assignment 2: Literature Review Assignment 3: Abstract and Outline Assignment 4: Research Presentation Assignment 5: Final Paper

Sociology 190 is a senior capstone course in which students engage in small seminar discussions of a particular topic. In my section of Soc 190, Transnational Adoption from a Sociological Perspective , I paired in-depth discussions on the topic of adoption with a semester-long research project — each student designed a research question, collected data, and wrote up a 15–20-page research paper on a topic of their choice. I knew that because the research paper seemed overwhelming to my students, they would need guidance and feedback throughout the process. In designing my syllabus and assignments I consulted with syllabi from others in my department that had previously taught similar courses. The resulting assignments are included in this section.

In the process of setting the assignments I learned that students needed very explicit instructions on the format of a formal research paper, the opportunity to discuss their progress frequently in class, and structured opportunities to learn about how to do sociological research. Throughout the semester we had discussions, both as a large group and in smaller groups, about the students’ progress on their projects, which allowed students a chance to receive feedback more often than I was able to give in writing. We also had several formal opportunities to learn about research, for example when I gave presentations to the students on research methods, or when we had a guest speaker talk about their research, or when students had a session with a subject-specific librarian to learn about how to locate secondary sources. Each assignment then served as a research milestone where students got formal feedback from me about their progress. Before each assignment we had in-depth discussions of how to formulate the different components of a research paper, so the assignments include detailed lists of the parts we had already discussed in class. We ended the semester with a mini research conference where students presented their arguments to their peers and received feedback. They then used this feedback and my feedback on the smaller assignments to produce their final research papers.

Assignment 1: Paper Proposal

Paper proposal.

In no more than 2 double-spaced pages (Times New Roman, size 12 font, one-inch margins) you will:

Choosing a Research Topic and Question

Your research topic and question must relate to the topic of transnational adoption, but beyond this requirement there are no limitations on the topic that you choose. I recommend that you look through the topics in the syllabus to help you to begin to determine what you are most interested in studying. In addition, the reading entitled “International Adoption: A Sociological Account of the US Experience” (Engel et al., 2007) [1] , should help you to understand the various topics related to transnational adoption that are of particular concern to sociologists.

Choosing a Data Source

Once you have identified your research question, you must choose one of the research methods listed below that will be most appropriate for answering your question.

[1] Engel, Madeline, Norma K. Phillips, and Frances A. Dellacava (2007). “International Adoption: A Sociological Account of the US Experience.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 27: 257–270.

Assignment 2: Literature Review

For this assignment you will submit a review of current literature on your topic that will:

The literature review should be 4 to 5 double-spaced pages, size 12 Times New Roman font, one-inch margins.

Additional tips for writing your literature review:

Assignment 3: Abstract and Outline

Part one: abstract.

For this assignment you will write an abstract of no more than 500 words that details the argument you will make in your final paper. The abstract should have the following components:

Note: The abstract should not include any citations.

Grading: Your grade will be based on the organization and coherence of your writing, the inclusion of all aspects detailed above, and especially on the clarity, feasibility, and appropriateness of the argument that you plan to make in your final paper.

Part Two: Paper Outline

For this assignment you will write an outline of your final paper that details each of the sections of the paper and the overall argument that you will make in each section. The outline can be as long as you would like, but cannot exceed 5 single-spaced pages, size 12 font, one-inch margins. I recommend that you include as much detail as possible as this will be your last formal opportunity to receive feedback from me.

Please label all sections. For each section you will include a brief paragraph (2–3 sentences) that outlines what you will argue/explain in that section. Then you will outline each paragraph or part of that section (please use the numerical outlining function in Word; you may also use bullet points where necessary). The outline should be as detailed as possible and should include quotations, examples from your research, data that supports your points, etc. You should include the following sections:

Assignment 4: Research Presentation

For this assignment you will prepare a very brief presentation of your research for the class. The purposes of this assignment are: a) to learn about the research that students have done as part of this class, b) to have the opportunity to give feedback and suggestions to other students, c) to discuss several topics related to transnational adoption using the foundational knowledge you have gained this semester.

Guidelines for your presentation:

Grading: You will be graded on your ability to clearly and concisely present your research, the connections that you make between your research and course material, and your engagement in a discussion about your topic with other students in the class during the Q&A period.

Assignment 5: Final Paper

For this assignment you will draw on the research proposal, literature review, abstract, paper outline, and the data you have collected through your research to write a polished research paper on your topic. The paper must be 15–20 pages, size 12 Times New Roman font, one-inch margins. Please note that your bibliography/works cited and any appendices you choose to include will not be counted in the 15-page minimum.

Required Components for the Final Paper:

Please make sure to label each section with either a section title (e.g., literature review) or a title that communicates the content of the section (e.g., previous research on culture keeping).

In writing this paper please make sure to look back over your previous assignments at my comments and to incorporate changes into your final paper. You are welcome to use any part of your previous assignments verbatim, but I urge you to edit carefully. This paper should be a polished, final paper and not a draft. This means that you will need to finish the paper in advance of the deadline to allow ample time for editing.

SOCI 1301: Introduction to Sociology

Deviant Behavior Assignment - Section 1

The purpose of this assignment is to “wet you feet” in the area of being deviant and doing observational research. In completing this assignment, make sure you are being research oriented and using your sociological imagination.

Deviance is defined as “a violation of cultural norms”. We will discuss more about deviance in the coming weeks.

Think about five things or ideas you have learned about sociology this semester and integrate them into your 5 - 6 page typed double-spaced paper (using Times New Roman 12 cpi) This means a total written of 5 - 6 pages (actually written complete pages, not counting cover sheet or title). Underline or highlight the five concepts in your paper.

You need to also use at least 5 references from professional journal articles which you incorporate into the literature review section of your paper.

Project description:

Your project has to be something you do between now and when the assignment is due (11.03.15). Engage in any (legal) kind of deviant behavior, and observe the reactions of people around you. Example: Face the wall in an elevator; talk to yourself while walking through a crowd; walk backwards down the street; stand up while everyone is sitting; laugh at a sad story; intentionally miscommunicate with someone; dye your hair red, white, and blue; follow someone in the store. Use your social research creativity.

You need to write your paper using APA (American Psychological Association format). There are online sources which explain this format. The WT Library also has good sources which explain APA format.

You should also go to the WT Writing Center located in the Classroom Center 107 – Student Success Center to get help and feedback on your paper. Plan ahead and start your paper early.

Your paper needs to include the following parts:

An introduction to the topic of deviance and literature review. What are the different ways that deviance is defined? What do sociologists say? Include at least 5 references from professional journal articles into your literature review section.

Describe your deviant act. Include date, time location etc. Be specific.

Part three:

Observe! What is the attitude of those around you? What is their reaction etc? How does all of this make you feel? For example, what is your reaction to their reaction?

Integrate at least five things or ideas you have learned about sociology during this semester. Use your books and notes to assist you. Underline , highlight or bold the five concepts in your paper.

Homelessness paper - Sections 4 & 5

This research project will provide you with the opportunity to conduct a sociological analysis on a topic of homeless of your choosing from one of the topics below. You will write a 5 -7 page paper. For this paper, you will need to do some outside research to explore your topic and use course concepts to analyze and organize your findings. You will need at least 5 sources. You will also need a reference page listing your sources. Three of your 5 sources should be from scholarly peer reviewed journal articles. The length of the paper requires you to condense a lot of material, be sure to narrow your topic down to a workable paper.

Choose from one of these topics of homelessness (be creative and have fun with it):


Forming a Research Question

Once you have selected a topic for your research paper, you need to focus and narrow, it into a specific research question. Your question should be one that:

Answering the Research Question

Questions to answer your topic selection and description

Further Information

In other words, your paper should include the following basics:

Sociology Observation Assignment Essay Example

Sociology Observation Assignment Essay Example

OBSERVATION ONE: Young boy and young girl are riding their bikes outside in the cul-de-sac of the neighborhood. The boy is wearing a helmet decaled with flames and his bike is black. The girl is wearing a purple helmet with a unicorn horn attached to the front and glitter stickers on it and her bike is bright pink with tassles. The young boy is riding ahead, clearly holding the dominant role in the make-believe game they’re playing. They seem oblivious to the world of reality around them as they cut through people’s front yards and swerve around trees. It’s becoming more and more apparent that they are playing a game of war as the boy shouts out orders you would hear on a battlefield. (“Hold your ground!” and “The enemy is coming over the ridge

in the distance! Go get help!”)

The young boy is fighting off a horde of bloodthirsty Orcs while the young girl is riding away to fetch help from their pretend legion. From the dialogue going on between the two, it seems they are both soldiers fighting to save their homeland of Rohan. In this case, it seems that gender doesn’t have an effect on how the boy interacts with the girl. However, the girl seems aware of the fact that she is a girl and her role in this sort of pretend play is to be a damsel in distress and not a warrior fighting for her country, so repeatedly falling down and crying out for help and screeching that the enemy has captured her is a normality.

OBSERVATION TWO: At the coffee shop in Jackson,

two young men are sitting in a corner secluded from other customers in the lobby. What’s odd is they both have coffee, but neither of them seem interested in drinking it. The blonde (we’ll call him Blondie) has a clear role of authority over the other (we’ll call him Nugent). Their seclusion from the rest of the restaurant doesn’t seem to be noticed by anyone else in the shop. Blondie is bent over the table, leaning towards Nugent, speaking urgently in a low voice, not wanting to be overheard. Nugent seems in tune to what Blondie has to say, but his face shows doubt.

After Blondie finishes speaking, Nugent takes a moment to respond, deciding what would be best to say. Nugent’s choice of words was the wrong one because Blondie bursts out with “I’m the older brother therefore what I say goes!”. This outburst causes some heads to turn in their direction, making both shift uncomfortably and smile sheepishly to the onlookers. When the people have gone back to their coffee and papers, Nugent gives Blondie a look of nonverbal warning, possibly about keeping it down and not calling attention to themselves anymore.

OBSERVATION THREE (observation two cont.): As time passes, it becomes clear that Blondie and Nugent are brothers, with no nuclear family to speak of. Blondie has had the role of being the leader since they were young and Nugent has followed him obediently. Being the younger of the two, Nugent has learned to be charismatic and to be the peacemaker. This is shown when a barista goes over to their table to see if everything is as it should

be. Blondie makes no eye contact with the barista, hunches over his coffee cup (almost in an animalistic, territorial, “this is mine, don’t touch it” sort of way. Perhaps a learned behavior from a time when he was young and resources may have been scarce in the house of residence), and shrinks into the corner, not saying a word to the barista or Nugent. Nugent, however, makes eye contact with her, leans toward her (making himself seem to be an active recipient to what she has to say), and smiles openly.

He replies to her acquisition with a lighthearted laugh and soft-spoken words of reassurance. When she walks away, Blondie comes back from his hunched over state and Nugent sighs deeply and leans back against his chair heavily (makes one think that perhaps Nugent has had to use his talent of peacemaking to cover for his brother throughout their lives). They go back to their quiet conversation, but this time Nugent is the speaker and Blondie is the listener. Whatever it is that Nugent has said has defused Blondie’s angst and revealed his true emotions because Blondie breaks eye contact with Nugent, his face softens, and a tear falls onto the lid of his coffee cup. Blondie quickly recovers with a gruff cough and both sit in silence for a moment before getting up, throwing away their untouched coffee, and leaving the shop.

OBSERVATION FOUR: Gibson is a 17-month-old toddler who is discovering which behaviors will get him what. During bath time, he is interested in filling up and pouring out water from his small blue cup while he takes his bath. He

does this repeatedly, never tiring of it. Occasionally, he looks up to his father, Mitch, and smiles through his pacifier with a small giggle (Gibson has learned that smiling at someone can be used as a form of seeking approval from a superior). The faucet is almost a thing of homage as the water shoots out over his hands and splashes onto his chest and face. Gibson finds a second, SEC-branded cup sitting on the bathtub ledge and begins the task of filling up the small blue cup with water from the faucet, pouring it out into the SEC cup and attempting to drink the water in the SEC cup (all he accomplishes is dumping the water all over his face).

After awhile of this play, he tosses both cups out of the bathtub and begins grunting and reaching out for Mitch, signaling that he is done with his bath and wants to get out. As Mitch grabs a towel, Gibson stands up in anticipation of being picked up out of the water and dried off. Mitch carries Gibson to the nursery, dresses him for bed and brings him out to the main part of the house. Gibson has learned that this is the time when he is given medicine, something he isn’t fond of, so Gibson struggles against Mitch’s arms holds out one hand in front of his face, signaling “no, I do not want that”. However, this action is moot. After taking his medicine, Gibson waves to me (his way of saying “goodnight”) and goes back to his nursery for the remainder of the night.

OBSERVATION FIVE: A young man, probably

19-22 years old, and a young woman around the same age are walking down the sidewalk, discussing something interesting to the girl but not so much to the boy. He seems more interested in her hand that is swinging freely at her side, slightly grazing his own. It can be clearly seen that they have known one another for quite some time by how close they stand next to one another. Every now and again he nods and says a word or two, making sure to look engaged in their conversation. She seems oblivious to how he keeps glancing down at her hand, clearly wanting to hold it.

They stop at a crosswalk, and he moves his hand as if in an attempt to hold hers, but stops himself and instead puts his hand in his jacket pocket and looks down at his shoes. She looks at him and it is clear that she, too, wanted him to take her hand. Her eyes search his face for a moment before he looks back up, causing her to look away quickly, not wanting to be caught. They continue their walk across the street and the girl slows her pace ever so slightly, falling behind the boy. She stops for a moment, and then gasps loudly and throws herself forward, catching herself on his arm. Startled, the boy grabs her hand and steadies her to keep her from “falling”. They cross to the other sidewalk, and neither one has let go of the other’s hand. The girl is smiling quietly as she listens to the boy talk animatedly about a new topic, disappearing from my line

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  4. Observations- Sociology

    sociology observation assignment

  5. ️ Sociological observation examples. Writing Papers That Apply Sociological Theories or

    sociology observation assignment

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    sociology observation assignment


  1. 12 Sociology Project

  2. IST Sociology Project (P.1)

  3. Sociology Assignment #5

  4. A Level Sociology

  5. sociology project

  6. Sociology 102


  1. PDF Participant Observation Assignment: Sociology in Everyday Life (40 points)

    Participant Observation Assignment: Sociology in Everyday Life (40 points) This assignment requires you to go out into the field and do observations on which you will write your report. It is recommended that you conduct observations in the chosen space on two different days. Read this entire set of instructions before beginning this assignment.

  2. Sociological Observation 1

    Sociological Observation 1 - Ebony Livas SOC 112 Dr Brady-Youngblood 01/12/ Sociological Observation - Studocu Instructions The purpose of this worksheet is to get you out into the real world to think about the social world in a new way and to have you switch your Skip to document Ask an Expert Sign inRegister Sign inRegister Home Ask an ExpertNew

  3. SOC112 Sociological Observation Worksheet 2

    SOC112 Sociological Observation Worksheet 2 observing publlic University Southern New Hampshire University Course Introduction to Sociology (SOC112) Academic year2021/2022 Helpful? 30 Comments Please sign inor registerto post comments. Students also viewed SOC 112 Final Project - weekly assignment SOC 112 final paper 1-4 short answer

  4. The Utility of Participant Observation in Applied ...

    Participant observation has long been an important social inquiry tool in sociological investigation of the social world and in applied sociology. It is a complex blend of methods and techniques of observation, informant interviewing, respondent interviewing, and document analysis.

  5. Sociology Observation Assignment observation .doc

    Sociology Observation Assignment observation .doc - CULTURAL OBSERVATION Cultural Observation Assignment Catherine Larochelle October 24, 2019 Southern | Course Hero Sociology Observation Assignment observation .doc -... Southern New Hampshire University SOCIOLOGY Perspectives in the Social Sciences cateylarochelle 03/14/2021

  6. Sociology

    Terms in this set (11) Observation. A research method used for those who believe that the best way to research is to see them in their daily lives. This is by observing the action. Non participant observation. where the researcher watches the group without getting involved. Participant observation.

  7. Observation Sociology Assignment free sample

    Observation Sociology Assignment free sample Observation Sociology Assignment For this Observation decided to try Mediterranean food. After looking at different menus; I had made this choice the food was similar to the type of food am accustomed to. The object of this observation was to try something wasn't familiar with.

  8. Writing Papers That Apply Sociological Theories or Perspectives

    Generally, a first step in a theory application assignment is to make certain you understand the theory! You should be able to state the theory (the author's main argument) in a sentence or two. Usually, this means specifying the causal relationship (X—>Y) or the causal model (which might involve multiple variables and relationships).


    Sociology for a New Century, by York Bradshaw, Joseph Healey, and Rebecca ... Observation of the Social World: Marketing 7 Steve Derné, State University of New York (SUNY) at Geneseo, and Lisa Jadwin, St. John Fisher College ... This assignment (group and individual) offers systematic practice in the ...

  10. Observation Study Assignment (1).docx

    ASSIGNMENT For this assignment, you will conduct anobservational only study. This study will be 100%achievable via observationonly, withnointeraction between you and the participants. You will choose from one of the observations listed here for your sociological observation.

  11. 2.3 Research Design in Sociology

    Observational research, also called field research, is a staple of sociology. Sociologists have long gone into the field to observe people and social settings, and the result has been many rich descriptions and analyses of behavior in juvenile gangs, bars, urban street corners, and even whole communities.

  12. Observation Paper copy.docx

    Danial Saleem Introduction to Sociology (SOC 201) Observation Assignment November 7, 2017 1 Sociology is existing through daily life. Within cautious observation, individuals can differentiate different sociological concepts that occur throughout the day.

  13. Teaching

    Instructors and faculty are at the heart of the discipline of sociology. ASA offers a variety of professional development resources to support sociological pedagogy across institutions. TRAILS. TRAILS is an online peer-reviewed library of high-quality teaching resources, including syllabi, class activities, assignments, lectures, and more. Contexts

  14. Sociology Observation Essay Topic Ideas

    Sociology Observation Augmentative essay topics for undergraduates Social taboos are just limited to the old generations and modern people are not obsessed with them. It is impossible to implement any law in society by law if people do not agree with it.

  15. Research Methods: Observations

    The use of observations in Sociological research is explained in this video. We explain the strengths and limitations of observations as a research method, including participant, non-participant, covert and overt observations. Research Methods: Observations Share : Sociology Reference Topic Videos Non-Participant Observation Theory & Methods

  16. Sociology Observation Assignment 2022

    Sociology Observation Assignment 2022. Added on -2022-08-12. Your first Observation Report is due by February 16th. Observation Reports: These settings must be new to the student in order to broaden the range of experiences as well as provide an environment for sociological learning. The observation needs to be completed during the course of ...

  17. Observation Assignment Example

    2. As for social relations, I sensed that it was an unwritten rule that the elderly were to be given preference in comfort zones like on benches and at the coffee bar. They were attended first. Also, mothers had to look after their kids, and fathers tended them by buying them eatables and paying for their shopping.

  18. Sociology 190 Research Assignment

    Assignment 5: Final Paper. Context. Sociology 190 is a senior capstone course in which students engage in small seminar discussions of a particular topic. ... Participant Observation: Spend 5 to 10 hours observing social interaction at a relevant research site. If you decide to do this you must get advance permission from the organization and ...

  19. Research Assignment

    Deviant Behavior Assignment - Section 1. The purpose of this assignment is to "wet you feet" in the area of being deviant and doing observational research. In completing this assignment, make sure you are being research oriented and using your sociological imagination. Deviance is defined as "a violation of cultural norms".

  20. Sociology Observation Assignment Essay Example

    Sociology Observation Assignment Essay Example 🎓 Get access to high-quality and unique 50 000 college essay examples and more than 100 000 flashcards and test answers from around the world! ... OBSERVATION FOUR: Gibson is a 17-month-old toddler who is discovering which behaviors will get him what. During bath time, he is interested in ...