LABS – Fall 2005– Soc 1301

Please remember that students must pick two of the following five labs in order to complete the lab requirements.  Labs are due at the beginning of class, STAPLED, with no exceptions.  No late work will be accepted.  If you cannot come to that class, you may email or fax it to me by the beginning of class time.  Please be sure that you follow writing guidelines for labs as per your syllabus.  If you do not, points will be deducted.  References are required to support your position.  Citing your book will not count towards this requirement.  WARNING: Any time you paraphrase, quote, or use someone else’s ideas from research or reading that you have done, you must use APA format and a reference page must be included - see the following URL for help on this


LAB 1 – Sociological Paradigms

We have discussed in class several different theoretical orientations that sociologists use to frame their research.  In this lab, you will use each paradigm discussed in class (structural-functional, social conflict, and symbolic interaction) to explain what a sociologist using this orientation might say about the topic of prostitution.   Remember to think in terms of functions, conflict, and interaction as this will help you to figure out what each approach might say. Be creative in your analysis, and be sure to find at least two sources that support your analysis. 2 - 3 pages, double-spaced, 12 pitch, with one inch margins, typed.  APA citing style references required to support analysis.


LAB 2 – Breaching Experiment

Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology sought to study how people make sense of their everyday surroundings.  As discussed in class, this approach assumes that there are everyday assumptions about behavior that we all take for granted.  For example, when we ask someone how to get to the Library Resource Center, we expect them to give verbal cues that will guide us across campus to the appropriate location.  If this person simply stares at us with no response, we are likely to become confused, even angry at such a response.  This is because our assumptions about how everyday behavior should occur have been violated.  Lab 2 requires that you perform a breaching experiment.  Do this by finding some daily interaction rule that we all adhere to and violating it with another member of one of your groups.  Be creative!  Do not use my example above, but consider experiments such as behaving like a guest in your parents’ house, fiddling with other’s property in their presence, or playing the “sidler” ala’ Seinfeld (the person who always stands way to close when engaging in a conversation).  Use these examples, or be even more creative by coming up with your own!  Report back what your experiment was, why you decided to use that particular assumption, and what kind of behavior ensued afterwards.  Also, tell me if what you found supports Garfinkel’s ideas about the construction of everyday reality.  Are people accepting of changes to everyday assumptions?  Or is a change is the pattern of expected behavior something that causes problems?  Why or why not? Remember to be persistent in this experiment.  It will be difficult because you will feel uncomfortable.  But the longer you can keep it up, the greater the observational benefit.  Finally, please do not do anything that would be offensive.  Do not tell your subjects what you are doing until afterwards and be sure to do this with someone that knows you well.  Support your findings with work from Garfinkel, other ethnomethodologists, or even social psychologists.  2 – 3 pages, double-spaced, 12 pitch, with one inch margins, typed.  APA citing style references required to support analysis.


LAB 3 - "Super Size Me"

According to Weber's theory, the ideal type of bureaucracy has many characteristics that were all developed as models of organization in order to improve the efficiency of the organization.  An example of a corporation that has definitely capitalized on this model is McDonald's.  After having watched "Super Size Me," identify and discuss which of Weber's characteristics appear in this characterization of McDonald's.  You must GIVE EXAMPLES FROM THE MOVIE of each characteristic that you identify. Then, discuss which of these characteristics you view as possibly creating inefficiency in the organization and why. You do not have to use references other than the movie to support your work on this assignment.  2 - 3 pages, double-spaced, 12 pitch, with one inch margins, typed.  APA citing style references required to support analysis.


LAB 4 – Grocery Store Observation         

We have talked about the division of household and childcare labor amongst couples and even within alternative family types.  Feminists have traditionally argued that women get the short end of the stick when it comes to household labor and childcare.  Arlie Hochschild has convincingly argued in her concept of the “second shift” that women in industrial societies like the U.S. must work all day earning a second income and then return home that night to begin the “second shift” of housework and childcare.  Others have argued that men are beginning to take on greater responsibilities in both of these areas.  Masako Ishii-Kuntz has begun looking at fathers in Japan that are stay at home dads while mothers pursue careers outside the home.  What are your thoughts on this?  This lab requires that you go to a local grocery store of your choosing and observe patterns of behavior amongst families for at least 45 minutes (you may want to let the manager know why you are there so that there is no confusion).  DO NOT go to a mega supercenter (i.e. Wal-Mart Supercenter or Target Greatland) as this will give you a different sample of people than what I want you to look for.  It is best to pick a day that appears to be busy, however, please go DURING THE WEEK.  Take detailed notes on who you see doing the shopping.  Who is taking care of the kids while shopping goes on?  Who is doing the actual physical shopping?  Are the children being attended to or being allowed to run loose?  Do you see any men with their kids?  How about women?  Or do you see teenagers shopping with their younger siblings?  Be sure to count what types of situations you see, but also describe the patterns and how each member of these primary groups are behaving.  Also, ANALYZE how your observations support or do not support “second shift” theories as well as men’s transitioning gender roles in the household.   It is also good to notice, record, and discuss ethnic, class, etc differences, HOWEVER, I WANT YOU TO FOCUS ON GENDER DIFFERENCES (MALE VS. FEMALE) for this project. This means that observations should be CENTERED ON GENDER with definite acknowledgement of class, ethnicity, religion, etc. if you observe such.  Do not judge what you see, just observe.  You must turn in both your detailed fieldnotes as well as a 2 - 3 page memo on what you saw and what it meant to your own preconceived notions about what you expected to see. Also, tell me what store you observed, what day of the week, and what time you were there.  You must use at least two JSTOR articles to support your conclusions about what you think you observed. Double-spaced, with one inch margins, 12 pitch, typed.  APA citing style references required to support analysis.



LAB 5 – Immigrant Interview

Interview an immigrant that you know in your community.  Ask about experiences that they have had since arriving in the United States.  How do they feel about living here?  What do they miss most about their homelands?  Are they still in contact with family in their native countries?  What do they feel is the most important cultural event to recognize in order to maintain their ethnic heritage?  Is the United States what they expected?  Why or why not? Can they describe some type of discrimination that they may have experienced?  Remember to be sensitive and non-judgmental.  Everyone has a different way of looking at the world.  Being open minded and willing to learn about other cultures is one way to broaden our horizons and discover new, wonderful or horrifying (discrimination), and intriguing ideas that we may never have had before.  Write what you learned from your interview about the other person’s life, culture, and experiences in the United States.  Also, identify and analyze from your subject’s interview, any indication or experience of the different types of discrimination and/or prejudice that we have talked about in class. What kind of effects might this have had on your interviewee?  This will not always be apparent in what your interviewee says.  We often discriminate or are discriminated against without even realizing it!  Take your interview to JSTOR and find at least two journal articles that will support what you have found in your qualitative work.  2 - 3 pages, double-spaced, with one inch margins, 12 pitch, typed.  APA citing style references required to support analysis.