Field Observation

Field Observation

Field Observation Topic: Shopping habits with relation to shop attendants. I hypothesize that customers will visit shops served by women more than they will visit shops served by men.

Choosing to visit a shop with female employees over a shop with male employees would be tough because there are so many reasons why a person might to go a shop. For example, I might choose to go to a shop because I would rather interact with the female employees who work there, but I might also choose to go to a shop because I simply need what it is that they are selling. One way you could approach this would be to go to one shop that has a lot of male and female employees working there, and then looking to see which gender customers approach to ask questions.


Everyday life is rich with examples of social psychology in action. Every trip to the café, the grocery store, or a sporting event lends itself to social psychological analysis. This paper assignment allows you to conduct a field observation which you can then analyze using what you’ve learned in the course up to this point.

Complete Part A of your assignment (below). You may not realize this yet, but observing field behavior like a scientist is very different than casual “people watching”. To develop some ideas of what to consider in making your observations, first view the OWL website on observations, and this article in TIME Magazine about taking notes like a scientist. Finalize your hypothesis about something you expect to observe in a given situation (e.g., “I hypothesize that groups of women will be more likely than groups of men to order similar food at a restaurant”, “I hypothesize that individuals driving expensive cars will be more overtly frustrated by getting a red light during rush hour than individuals driving inexpensive cars”). Write down your hypothesis and how you will make observations to test it. (Note that we will not be testing your results with statistics (phew), you will simply report what you observe).

Now, go to a public place or attend an event and observe the social interactions that take place during your visit. Plan to spend at least an hour observing your particular construct. Take hand-written notes of your observations. Then, using your knowledge of social psychology, complete Part B of your assignment.

Part A (2 pages)

  • Summarize the OWL site and the TIME Magazine article
  • Write down your hypothesis
  • Describe exactly how you will make and record your observations

Part B (6 pages altogether)

  • Describe and analyze what you observed (2 pages)
  • Reference topics from the course; make specific connections to your textbook and cite (include page numbers) (3 pages)
  • Draw inferences about human behavior from what you observed. (1 page)

Part C (pages will vary based on your observation process)

  • Appendix – include a photograph(s) of your field notes

All Parts must be in APA style, in one document, with a cover page and references.


Scholarly Connections (textbook and others), Personal Reflection, Thoroughness (clear and articulated discussions), Writing Quality (proper citation at the end of all quoted sentences and APA style) and Questions. Please no plagiarism.


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APA 2326 words