Observation

Soc& 101 Fall 2020 final projects paths and guidelines

Due: 12/11/2020

Now it is time to think about doing the final project for this course. The final product of this project will be sending a post to a discussion forum about your final project with the path you choose to do, and then you need to reply to two other fellow classmates’ post, that is it!

There are several paths for you to choose, decide which one you can do:

1. Do an observation project: do you see patterns of social interaction happening in daily base, they are related to the big theme of social class inequality, gender inequality or racial inequality? Or how do people talk about politics, participating in political issues, talk about voting when it is election time?

If you are living in a country that does not do election, then what it is like about generating a power structure in your society? Analyze: what concepts and theories that we learn in this class can be applied to the phenomena you are observing, if it is related to political institutions, then check with Chapter 13: Government, political power and social movement .

If there are social movements going on in your society, you are also encouraged to do observation of social movements in your society: the theme, the format, how do people deliver their message to the society, how many participants, what is your role in it: are you just observing, or are you participating too? Be clear with specific details.

 

The main point of doing observation besides observing is: see how you can relate the observation to something academically meaningful, how can it be taken to a higher ground: sociological concepts or theories, or even bring fresh air to existing sociological theories. Actually you are encouraged to explore anything that is available to observe, not just politics, class inequality, race, gender…But anything that is actually interesting and meaningful, this really asks you to find something interesting and important to observe, but if you observe how ants are doing group work to survive, how forests are in circle of life—-yes these are interesting, but I am asking a sociological important topic for observation, it has to have human interactions. So don’t do this kind of topics 🙂

For this path, you need to fulfill these aspects in your writing:

A. Observation: how often this happens, where, when and how do you get access to this

B. Analysis: what are the sociological concepts or theories applicable to this phenomena

2. Live like a sociologist to make a change. What is the social problem in your understanding, how can you change it by doing something, taking some actions or getting involved in the pre-existing organization that is dealing with the issue? Or are you going to create an organization to respond to this issue?

For this path, you need to fulfill:

a. What is the problem you are deeply concerned. Is there social organization dealing with this issue?

b. What is the social change you try to make: how often you go to a group to have meetings, activities that is trying to solve this problem.

c. What is the community impacts of this group’s activity? Use some qualitative data (it means people’s original descriptions, narratives) or quantitative data (some statistics in reliable websites) to support your conclusion. Identify the source of your data.

IF you are going to create an organization to deal with this issue, then you need to create a detail proposal, create Mission statement, membership requirement, activity plans, etc.

3. Subculture project: observe a subculture or counter culture.

Check definition of subculture and counter culture in textbook chapter 3, if you have access to a subculture or counter culture, you may think about doing this path. Record the language used, favorable activities to do, food, other material possessions this group has, what value they hold… write a report on this. Have sufficient details is essential for the success of this project. If just google this subculture and imagine what it is like, it won’t work for this project. You need to have real access to this cultural group: have regular interaction with them. Ask me if you have questions for this path.

4. Interview with your parents or grandparents.

If your family has been here for less than 3 generations, you may think about this path, ask your parents or grandparents about what is has been like living and surviving in the culture they live for most of their lives.

Let your parents/grandparents tell you a story of survival, see what concepts fulfill this story. Be analytical. So it has two parts to fulfill:

a. Your family’s story of survival

b. What concepts or theories can be used to explain the story: assimilation, racism, discrimination, language relativity hypothesis……etc.

5. Find two academic articles in the SFCC library website as the source of academic journals, or publicly recognized articles (meaning they are published in media that is well-recognized), that are contrary or vastly different to each others’ view points about a hot debated or interesting issue, anything that is socially impactful counts as “hot debated or interesting issue”. You need to summarize the differences and common things, and analyze what makes the differences in the view points, try to use the sociological concepts or theories to analyze the differences and common things.

You will be graded on the insight of finding a meaningful issue, comment on the contrary views, and doing your analysis.

 

How to submit this project?

We only need to do Canvas discussion forum post for this final project!

Due date of the presentation and your reply to fellow classmates’ post is: 12/11 at 11: 59 pm. I would suggest you submit your post earlier than 12/9, so classmates can look at it and make comments by 12/11.

The Length of your post within 200-500 words. The format of your post could be like an outline, with a, b, c, d, e, f indicating the different aspects of this project, cover the required aspects I mention in these paths.

So your post will be, you have an outline contains the main points of what you want to say, they are brief but should be understandable words and sentences, but not too brief to the point that nobody really knows what you want to say though.

So you may use bulletin points. BUT First of ALL tell us which path do you choose, e.g. path of observation or a subculture project, or family story… Then use bulletin points. For example for path 1 observation project:

A. My research /observational topic is: how do people talk about politics in their family gatherings.

B. My findings: 1, 2, 3, …

C. The sociological perspective closely related to this observation is: concept 1, explain why it is concept 1; concept 2, explain why it is concept 2…

 

Rubrics of grading your writing and your discussion forum post are:

a. You remember to tell the class which path you are using to do your project;

b. Clarity in your description, the ability to analyze the phenomena using sociological perspective, depth of analysis (comprehensiveness of understanding) will be the three major factors I evaluate for your post.

c. Should be fulfilling the length of 200-300 words.

d. You have replied to two classmates’ post about what you learn from them. The reply shows your careful reading and appreciation of the classmates’ post, the ability to extend the discussion by asking a further question, curiosity and creativity of the question will be much appreciated. Or you can raise a constructive critique toward the classmate’s post about how you see something is not analyzed properly, something is missing in the description and how can it be improved. We don’t call names, labeling people in comments to classmates’ posts, that is humiliating. It is strictly prohibited.

 

 

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