HOMEWORK 2 parts

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HOMEWORK #1: Participant Observation Assignment



Demonstrate the ability to see issues from the perspective(s) of other

groups/cultures by describing the values and communication styles found in

groups different from one’s own and the way in which those differences can affect

styles of verbal and nonverbal communication.


anthropological fieldwork in a local population. There are two parts to this


PART 1: Pitch Idea

Students should write a short (200 words) abstract that pitches

their participant observation site (fieldwork setting or institution).

Fieldwork sites should be located within a major societal institution

or public space, such as health care, criminal justice, education,

employment, voting, military, religion, recreational or public space,

or other institutions with permission of instructor. Students should

identify a basic question about why their site is important to

understand social and cultural issues. You should locate at least

one peer-reviewed source about your fieldwork institution to read

for background information for this abstract. This can be from a

journal or book.

The instructor will provide feedback on the student’s idea and

fieldwork institution before they can move on to participant


PART 2: Field Report

In a well-organized and well-written essay of three-to-four pages

(5 pages max; full 3 pages minimum), you will be writing up the

results of your participant observation task. Your assignment

should cover the following:


Participant observation. Plan to attend at least one hour at

your fieldwork institution.

Observe what is happening in as much detail as

possible. Some things to look for are the

arrangement of the physical space of the

institution, the kinds of activities taking place, the

kind of people who are there (age, ethnicity,

social class, gender, etc.), people’s verbal and

non-verbal behaviors, and other manifestations of

cultural organization.

Look for patterns.

On the same day you do the observation

, write

up your notes on your own behavior, feelings, and

reactions, and findings (what you learned about

the community and institution). It may not be

appropriate to take notes during your activity in

some places, but be sure to do it immediately

after you leave when you can recall the most

details. You must turn your notes in along with

your essay. Your notes should not be part of the


Where appropriate, talk to people there and let

them know about your assignment and ask

further questions

or solicit an interview for the

next assignment

. You will be referencing your

field site in a follow-up assignment, so make sure

your observations are thorough!


Field report. Your essay should cover the following points:

Brief description of where you went, when you

were there, and why you selected that site.


A synthesis of your observations (notes),

including patterns you identified and your own

reactions. This should include your own analysis

of what you observed and thought was occurring

during your observation period.

Your first impressions about the kinds of ideas

and cultural values that you think are reflected in

the patterns of behavior you identify.

Your reflections on the diversity of the people at

your fieldwork institution.

Any remaining questions you may have or

information you feel you may be missing in order

to understand the location and events you


The assignment should be turned in as a

Microsoft Word document in 12-pt. font with 1”


It MUST be submitted both in class and online

through Canvas.



You will be graded out of 50 total points, according to the following rubric:

0-15 points: Write clear abstract that identifies a fieldwork site, explains

why it is important, and uses at least one peer-reviewed source

0-20 points: Write in-depth field report based on participant observation,

fully addressing the five points above.

0-10 points: Transcript of participant observation notes

0-5 points: Appropriate use of citations


Participant observation is a key methodology in cultural anthropology. This

assignment is designed to provide you with firsthand experience conducting


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