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
Look for patterns.
On the same day you do the observation
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
or solicit an interview for the
. 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.
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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
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
HELPFUL ADVICE CAN BE FOUND IN (Tierney, 2007)
Participant observation is a key methodology in cultural anthropology. This
assignment is designed to provide you with firsthand experience conducting the research.
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