Explain the ‘self’ as a key concept in interaction and socialization
Identify social psychological sources of and consequences of structural inequality
Compare and contrast key social psychological theories including Symbolic Interactionism, Exchange Theory, and Micro-structural Sociology as tools for analysis in varied areas of social life
Analyze interpersonal interaction from a variety of social psychological frameworks including dramaturgy, ethnomethodology and exchange approach
Critically evaluate sociological research and theories on how larger structural conditions impact the individual, emphasizing issues of race, class, and gender.
Apply concepts and theories to analysis of field observations, interviews, and archives


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 for HW1 and HW2 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 HW1: Without any prep work, you will need to go to ONE public place and observe the people for 1 hour. Note people’s behavior, their demeanor, their reactions/interactions to/with each other.

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.


For HW1: Without any prep work, you will need to go to ONE public place and observe the people for 1 hour in a particular social setting. Note people’s behavior, their demeanor, their reactions/interactions to/with each other. NOTE: For additional information on hypotheses, operational definitions, and other research methodology concepts, see Lessons.

Here are the steps:

  • Choose the social setting in which will be conducting non-participant observation. This should be a public place such as a park, mall, restaurant, church, coffee shop, etc.
  • For your inductive approach, you will simply choose a time and location where you are going to conduct your observations
  • Go to the specified location and proceed with your observations. You must be a keen social observer; a ‘peeping Tom’ in the sociological sense. Take handwritten (recommended) and/or mental notes of:

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

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

-your thoughts and feelings while making observations.

  • When you have returned from you observation, type up your notes. Review your notes for patterns in behavior, socio-demographic characteristics, etc.
  • Write-up your 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);
  • Discuss trends and patterns of behavior that you noticed in your observation. What is a possible sociological/theoretical explanation for the trends you observed? Analyze your observations using a minimum of 4 sociological concepts and one theory from the textbook.

4 pages

SKU: sociology-213-society-interaction-and-the-individual Category: