Observational Analysis Assignment

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The paper should be 8 typed pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, with 1″ margins (excluding APA-Style Title and References pages). Remember to use APA format to cite and reference your sources (if you are citing outside sources). Your log will be submitted separately and is not considered as part of the 8 required pages for the paper.


Your task is to enter into a social situation with unfamiliar people around you. Do not attempt to conduct your observational analysis amongst people you know who are familiar with your everyday behavior (e.g., not at home or your in your immediate work surroundings). Examples might include the local mall, any public place (e.g., post office, grocery store), or for our military students who might be deployed, a group setting such as mess hall or while walking around the base.

You are to then engage in a behavior that will get people’s attention. For example, you might turn around backwards in a crowded elevator, wear your shoes on the wrong feet or wear your clothes inside out or backwards, or, perhaps, deliberately walk around with toilet paper trailing off your shoe. Those are simply suggestions; feel free to think of your own ideas.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be thoughtful regarding what you want to do, and under no circumstances should you engage in behavior that could potentially put you or other people at risk. So, please, don’t take pictures of strangers’ children at playgrounds or drive with your headlights off at night! Think of the old shows “Candid Camera” or “Punk’d” and use them as inspiration. Engage in this behavior for a long enough period of time to note the reactions of numerous people. You may need to do it several times to obtain a sufficient number of observations (either at different times or in different settings).

After gathering sufficient data to make meaningful conclusions,

1. Create a log. Click on the attached document titled “Log for Observations-Editable” and complete your log on this template. Note where you were, the time of day, what activity was going on around you, and the various reactions you noted from the people who pay attention to you and your unusual behavior. This document will be submitted along with your assignment, so I would recommend taking a small notebook with you when you gather your data and jot down observations throughout the length of your “experiment.”

2. For your paper, also answer the following questions referring to the specific principles you have learned thus far in the class.

What did you observe regarding whether people paid attention to you and your unusual behavior?

What percentage of people actually spoke to you about your unusual behavior (either to ask questions about why you were doing it, to ask you to stop, or to help you in some way)?

If applicable, did anyone “join in” on or conform with your unusual behavior?

If applicable, did anyone alert you to something that might be embarrassing to you (e.g., toilet paper on your shoe, food in your teeth, etc…)?

What social psychological principles or concepts that are discussed in our readings did you note as you conducted your informal observational analysis?

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