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Describe the individuals on which you are focusing. Who are the major or minor actors in this?

For this assignment, you are to select a public space (on- or off-campus or virtual) where you are part of the local scene. Basically, you do as you typically do as a member of the public (you observe without drawing attention to yourself), but in this case you consciously evaluate the interaction(s) that you observe. The emphasis here will be on observation rather than participation. Observing does NOT mean stalking the individual(s) you may see! During a sustained period of approximately one hour, make your observations of what you see around campus. Avoid being judgmental in your descriptions, i.e., be objective. If you write “international student,” or “married couple,” how do you know this? You are assessing data and coming to a conclusion—state what those bits of evidence are from which you are drawing. Be aware of verbal and nonverbal forms of communication, i.e., kinesics (body language) and proxemics (social distance). It is all data. Describe the setting (a schematic drawing or map can be helpful) Describe the individuals on which you are focusing. Who are the major or minor actors in this? Describe the activity and/or interaction(s) observed? Why did you focus on what you did? After making your observations, think about what you have seen. How did you interpret what you saw? What did you learn from this observation? This commentary is to be part of your written assignment; points will be deducted without this aspect. Since everyone will have his/her own experience, you will be expected to contribute to an in-class discussion on this topic. This assignment is worth up to 75 points.

 

In addition to the above requirements, your written assignment must be at least five pages in length (not counting your bibliography). You must also incorporate bibliographic sources into your paper! The purpose of this activity is to give you an introduction to research necessary to write an academic paper. You will have already taken notes during your participant observation – now it is time to do necessary library research to complement those notes. Your paper must be a combination of original (your own observations) and academic (book- or journal-based) research. For this particular assignment, you will need to find three sources to include with your Participant Observation paper. These sources can be anthropological journals, books, or online resources. Please use American Anthropological Association (AAA) format for citing your references. A copy of the style guide is available at http://www.aaanet.org/publications/style_guide.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. It is a good idea to take a look at the whole style guide, although I have included examples of how to list books, journals, and internet sources on the back of this sheet; in addition, I have given examples of how these sources should be cited in your paper. Remember to give credit where credit is due – you need to put a citation in your paper EVERY time you use work that is not your own to avoid plagiarism! Make sure to ask if you have any questions about how to use this particular citation style! You can use any sources that will complement your own research – and you can use more than three sources, although only three are required. Your textbook cannot be included in the three required sources (although you may, of course, use it as a fourth source).

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