HOMEWORK #1: Participant Observation Assignment

  • Objective
    • 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.
  • Assignment
    • Participant observation is a key methodology in cultural anthropology. This assignment is designed to provide you with firsthand experience conducting anthropological fieldwork in a local population. There are two parts to this assignment.
      • 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 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, especially with regard to the research question, related to communication. 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 observation