PURPOSE: The purpose of this two-step exercise is for you to conduct inductive and deductive research using qualitative methods.

NOTE: it is important that you conduct the observations as two distinct events during this class; ‘recalling’ past observations is not the same as purposefully observing your surroundings from a sociological perspective, and applying two different types of reasoning to one observation will not be ‘truthful’ or successful.


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.

For HW2: You will develop a research design with research problem, hypothesis and operational definitions for variables; then you will conduct another 1 hour of observations in the same social setting as in HW1.


For HW2: You will develop a research design with research problem, hypothesis and operational definitions for variables; then you will conduct another 1 hour of observations. NOTE: For additional information on hypotheses, operational definitions, and other research methodology concepts, see Week 5 Lesson>Assignments, Tests & Quizzes section for links to some methodology resources.

  • Based on your initial observations and written analyses completed for HW1, develop a specific research problem/question to be further investigated (i.e. the variation in behavior of males versus females when entering a store with a glass store front)
  • Identify the key variables you are going to be investigating, and develop an operational definition for each of them. (this should include at least two variables, but not more than four). Your operational definitions will help to provide parameters for how to record variations in your observations.
  • Write a hypothesis for what you expect to observe in your second round of observations.
  • Repeat observations. This should be done at the SAME social setting as in HW1 at approximately the same time of day (if you can do this one or two weeks later on the same day, it would be great!)
  • When you have returned from you observation, type up your notes. Review your notes for patterns in behavior, socio-demographic characteristics, etc. AND how they corresponded with your expectations/hypothesis
  • Describe observations using ‘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);
  • Analyze your observations in terms of how they supported/did not support your hypothesis.
  • What is a possible sociological/theoretical explanation for the trends you observed? This is best done by using our textbook and other sources to provide credibility to your analyses. Analyze your observations using a minimum of 6 sociological concepts and two theories from the textbook.
  • Discuss the differences between your inductive observations and your deductive observations. How did the way you were observing change? How did what you observed change?
  • Briefly describe and compare your thoughts/feelings in the two steps. Did you prefer one approach to the other? Why/why not?

4 pages